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Rise in eating disorder hospitalizations among young women linked to social media and pandemic isolation, experts say – The Globe and Mail

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Since recovering from an eating disorder, Rylee McKinlay has become a peer support worker at Foundry Penticton, a provincewide care initiative supported by the B.C. government, and an advocate for those suffering with eating disorders.Handout

Rylee McKinlay, 26, said pandemic-related stress and anxiety took a toll on many people, but especially those with eating disorders. She was first diagnosed with one at 15. “I’m very lucky to have a success story with this disease. Lots of people don’t make it and another large percentage just live with the illness their whole lives,” she said.

Since recovering, Ms. McKinlay has become a peer support worker at Foundry Penticton, a provincewide care initiative supported by the B.C. government, and an advocate for those suffering with eating disorders.

The pandemic was the perfect storm, “especially for youth,” Ms. McKinlay said. “They’re isolated at home; they don’t have their connection. They feel like the world is out of control; they have no control. So they think, ‘If I could just control what I put in my body, maybe everything will be okay.’ ”

According to recent data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), eating disorder hospitalizations among girls and young women aged 10 to 17 jumped nearly 60 per cent since March, 2020. Experts say this increase is linked to a number of factors, including pandemic uncertainty and increased attention to dieting trends on social media. But, these data also point to a larger issue about the way eating disorders are addressed in Canada.

Tracy Johnson, director of health system analytics at CIHI, said that hospitalizations escalated with each wave of COVID-19. “What we hear from experts is that uncertainty and change are the things that can go hand in hand with eating disorders,” she said.

“These kids certainly are sicker” then most hospitals have seen before, Ms. Johnson said, partly because of long wait times for treatment. Eating disorder clinics are not able to see 70 per cent of the referrals they’re getting right now, she said. “The concerning part is that a kid who was referred to them maybe six months ago with moderate illness, hasn’t been able to be seen and is getting sicker.”

The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), a non-profit organization that offers a free helpline and chat service to those struggling with eating disorders, reported similar data to those in CIHI’s report. It was 33 per cent busier this year than during the first year of the pandemic and 110 per cent busier than the last prepandemic year, said Aryel Maharaj, outreach and education co-ordinator at NEDIC.

But, he said, this increase is not new. “Even before the pandemic, wait lists for hospital-based programs for people struggling with eating disorders were anywhere from six months to a year to even 18 months long.”

Dr. Rosheen Grady, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at McMaster University, said, “The pandemic really just magnified and contributed to the existing eating disorder crisis in Canada.”

Historically, eating disorder care has been underfunded in Canada and many community-care centres have been overwhelmed since the pandemic, Dr. Grady said. “During the first wave of the pandemic, the health care system ramped down so there was lack of access to regular resources, routine assessment and potentially to people’s doctors as well.”

All of this, coupled with social-media dieting trends – such as pressure to lose extra pounds from what is known as “the COVID 15” – could have contributed to the rise in eating disorder symptoms.

“Lots of kids lost access to their coping mechanisms during the pandemic,” said Ayisha Kurji, a consultant pediatrician in Saskatchewan and associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan. “We know from even before the pandemic, more time on social media can lead to increased risks in developing eating disorders.”

“Sometimes if you’ve lost weight, the natural reaction for people is to praise you,” she added. “We have this natural tendency in society to think that thin is better,” which is another reason why these issues may go unnoticed and lead to hospitalizations.

This is something that Ms. McKinlay, the B.C. peer support worker, saw as well. “Unfortunately this rise in hospitalizations is not surprising,” she said. During quarantine, there was a big incentive for self-improvement, and fitness and dieting accounts on social media grew in popularity.

“These accounts on social media may be portraying health, but it’s never about health,” Ms. McKinlay said. “Everyday you’re looking at these bodies and comparing yourself and that builds a narrative in your head of not being enough.”

Many experts agree that the combination of the pandemic, social-media use and societal pressures to be thinner all contributed to an increase in young women struggling with eating disorders.

Though these disorders are often more prevalent among young women as CIHI data suggest, Dr. Grady said that the data may not have captured the complete experience of young men or those who identify as masculine or gender diverse. “Eating disorders in those populations look different,” she said.

So long as there are adequate support systems for those suffering from these disorders in Canada, Ms. McKinlay said that recovery is possible. “There is no place of happiness at the end of the road of an eating disorder. But, there is a life beyond an eating disorder,” she said.

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Newest council appointment resigns after controversial social media posts surface – CityNews Toronto

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  1. Newest council appointment resigns after controversial social media posts surface  CityNews Toronto
  2. Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced  CTV News Toronto
  3. Toronto politician accused of homophobic social media posts resigns from city council  blogTO
  4. Toronto’s newest councillor resigns hours after she was appointed  Global News
  5. View Full coverage on Google News



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Media Advisory: Ministers Stoodley and Davis to Attend Run for Women in Support of Stella's Circle – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

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On Sunday, June 26 the Honourable Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government and Service NL and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will attend the LOVE YOU’ by Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, in support of women’s mental health programs at Stella’s Circle.

The event is set to begin at 8:45 a.m. at Quidi Vidi Lake, 115 The Boulevard, St. John’s.

The Run for Women is held in 18 cities throughout Canada and focuses on Women’s Mental Health. Funds raised go to this year’s charity partner, Stella’s Circle, to specifically support programming at Naomi House and the Just Us Women’s Centre. The event also promotes physical movement as a means to creating better positive mental health outcomes.

-30-

Media contacts
Krista Dalton
Digital Government and Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492
kristadalton@gov.nl.ca

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466
lynnrobinson@gov.nl.ca

2022 06 24
1:40 pm

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Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced – CTV News Toronto

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A newly installed Toronto councillor has resigned after her old social media posts, which appear to show homophobic content, were unearthed hours following her appointment.

Rosemarie Bryan was appointed by city council as the new councillor for Ward 1 – Etobicoke North during a special meeting on Friday, filling the vacancy left by Michael Ford, who ran in June’s provincial election and won.

After she was appointed, however, Bryan’s alleged past social media activities, which appears to show her sharing anti-LGBTQ content, were brought to light.

Friday was the start of the Pride Toronto’s Festival Weekend, which features the return of the Pride Parade to downtown streets on Sunday following a two-year hiatus.

Several councillors posted to social media that had they known about Bryan’s posts, they would not have voted for her to fill the seat.

“A majority of councillors would have never this (way) had this information been brought forward. We relied too heavily on the recommendation being made by former councillor,” Coun. Mike Layton tweeted.

“We need to reopen this debate.”

Of the 23 councillors who cast their ballots, 21 voted for Bryan, including Mayor John Tory.

Coun. Josh Matlow, one of the two councillors who did not vote for Bryan, called for her resignation, tweeting that he does not believe “anyone who supports hate and bigotry should be a Toronto city councillor, or hold any public office for that matter. This is disgraceful.”

On Friday night, Bryan released a statement announcing that she is resigning, saying it’s the best way to continue serving those who love and support her in Etobicoke North.

Bryan said she is devastated that her past online posts are being “thrown against my decades of commitment to the community.”

“I recognize councillors were not aware of those posts before today’s discussion and now that they are, I recognize many would not have cast their vote for me. I don’t want to hurt all those who supported me and I remain committed to helping my community in any and every way I can,” she said.

In a statement, Tory said while Bryan made a “strong case” to council for her appointment, her past social media posts are “not acceptable.”

“I totally disagree with any homophobic or transphobic views. I absolutely support our 2SLGBTQ+ residents. City Councillors are expected to set an example when it comes to consistency with our shared values,” Tory said.

“I would not have voted for this appointment had I been aware of these posts and I know that is the sentiment of the vast majority of council who also voted today.”

He said it was appropriate for Bryan to resign.

“The upset this has caused everyone involved is extremely unfortunate. This is especially unfortunate on the very weekend when we are celebrating the progress we have made together,” Tory said, adding that he has asked staff to review the overall appointment process.

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