Ophelia’s Place introduces new support programs

— In order to help more people struggling with eating disorders, Ophelia’s Place in Liverpool has added two new support programs. Breaking Free is a group that caters to teens struggling with body image. The Parent Partner Program is for parents and caregivers of youths with eating disorders.

Breaking Free teen program

This new program is for teens battling disordered eating or body dissatisfaction. Ophelia’s Place Executive Director Jodie Wilson-Dougherty said it’s the first group that caters specifically to teens.

“We decided to do this group, in part, as a response to increased calls from parents of young teens who are struggling,” she said. ‘This issue is not limited to our community. For example, the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation hosts a Girl Ambassador program that connects local girls to girls across the globe. One of the issues they are talking about in this global conversation is body image.”

Participation in the group is not limited to those diagnosed with an eating disorder.

“Body dissatisfaction is one of the risk factors for developing an eating disorder, so we are coming at this from a prevention standpoint,” Wilson-Dougherty said. “We hope that as youth come together to talk about this issue, they will not only find support and encouragement from each other but also begin to challenge the narrow cultural definitions of health and beauty.”

Wilson-Dougherty will co-facilitate the group with The Q Center’s Tyler Sliker.

“Our partnership with The Q Center began when we hosted a coffee talk last summer on the issues of body image and eating disorders within the LGBTQ community,” Wilson-Dougherty said. “We recognized that many young people who identify as LGBTQ struggle with the same issues and feel marginalized. We also do not have many individuals of color who utilize our services. Body image and eating disorders do not discriminate, and we are working to expand our reach and invitation to everyone within our very diverse community who may need support and other services.”

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