We had seen firsthand the horrible effects of insufficient insurance coverage for eating disorder treatment, which can run upwards of $30,000 a month. We saw many eating disorder sufferers who were not able to get the treatment they desperately needed, or if they were lucky enough to get help, kicked out because they were “medically stable” just when they were beginning to scrape surface on the real issues. We were lucky because our insurance did cover most of our treatment, and our parents could thankfully afford to pay what it didn’t, but we knew many people who were not as fortunate. We also knew that, although eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, people can be fully cured if they get the proper help.
Further, we went back to high school after treatment, equipped with all these coping skills and positive body affirmations and healthy meal plans, and realized that it wasn’t just our treatment friends who struggled with body image and disordered eating, but many of our high school peers, as well. We wanted to do something to change the conversation.
Finally, a huge reason we started Project HEAL is that when we were in treatment, we really lacked hope. And the few times that we heard stories of people who had recovered, it sparked a bit of hope. We wanted to serve as role models and mentors to people who thought, “I can never get better,” because we were once those girls with that very same sentiment. A big part of Project HEAL is simply serving as a testament that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible.