Thank you for your interest in becoming a Communities of HEALing (COH) mentee!
In this phase of COH we are working with the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders to conduct a randomized controlled trial that will evaluate the effectiveness of the program in a number of ways.
This research study will help us learn whether several kinds of mentorship can help people in recovery from an eating disorder, and is an exciting next step in strengthening Communities of HEALing. This means that anyone receiving mentorship through Communities of HEALing in the next several years will be a participant in the research study.
What happens in the research study?
Participants in the study will be randomly assigned to receive one of three things. This means that which program you participate in will be based on chance, and neither you nor Project HEAL staff can select which group you will be placed in.
- The first program is peer mentorship, in which you would meet weekly with an adult peer who has recovered from an eating disorder. During weekly meetings, you and your mentor would discuss your eating disorder symptoms and how to overcome them. The goal of this program is to reduce eating disorder symptoms directly by receiving support and guidance from someone who has been through it.
- The second program is social support mentorship, in which you would meet weekly with an adult mentor who has not personally struggled with an eating disorder. During meetings, you and your mentor (and possibly 1-2 additional mentees) will engage in activities unrelated to the eating disorder. The goal of this program is to reduce eating disorder symptoms indirectly by exploring who you are outside the eating disorder.
- In the third group, you would be on a wait list for six months, and then you would receive mentorship for six months.
Participants in all three groups will be expected to complete surveys about their experience before, during, and for a period after the mentorship program. These surveys are administered online about once per month.
Am I eligible to be a mentee?
Study participants must meet a specific set of eligibility criteria in order to participate. Participants must be between the ages of 14 and 45, have been discharged from treatment for your eating disorder at a higher level of care (hospitalization, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient) in the last 6 months. All participants must also have a current treatment team. If you are interested in participating, these and other criteria will be assessed during a series of screening calls with the research team.
If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, we still want you to be involved! You can learn more about our local support groups, which are open to anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder, here. Please also feel free to reach out to us to learn about other volunteer opportunities.
How do I join?
If you are still interested in receiving mentorship through Communities of HEALing, and in participating in the study, the next step is to call the team at Columbia. Their staff will be able to assess whether or not your are eligible to participate, and answer any questions you may have about participation.
To express interest in participating in the study and receiving mentorship in your recovery, please call (646) 774-8066 and indicate that you are interested in participating in the Communities of HEALing study.
We appreciate your patience and continued support as we embark on this exciting new phase of Communities of HEALing. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to reach out and we will be happy to answer them.