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Eating Disorders: Providers say Vermont must do more

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Providers say Vermont needs to do more to boost treatment for eating disorders here.

I’m continuing my investigation into the demand for eating disorder care in Vermont and the lack of resources available for the tens of thousands of people who might need help.

It’s an issue that families and people on the front lines of treatment have noticed for years, decades even. They tell me the pandemic only made it worse.

One of those providers is Bree Greenberg-Benjamin, the clinical director at the Vermont Center for Integrative Therapy.

For about 10 years before the pandemic, she had a clinic in Vermont that treated people with eating disorders. Now she’s in Florida but still does telehealth here.

She told me a lot of people are reaching out for help.

“I was receiving calls every week from parents who were like, I don’t know what the hell to do and I don’t know who to ask for help. My daughter who’s 12, my daughter who’s 11, my son who’s 16-- they’re suicidal and they’re restricting food and I’m catching them purging in the bathroom. We’ve never had this problem in our family and I don’t know what to do about it. And parents crying on the phone every single week,” Greenberg-Benjamin said. “We would see everyone from the low level of care all the way up to what needed residential but couldn’t receive residential, either because it wasn’t in Vermont or there wasn’t a residential program even outside of Vermont that matched what that particular client needed because so much of the system is still steeped in an old way of understanding and treating eating disorders. And it’s been evolved a little bit, but not to a place where it’s really meeting the level of complexity that eating disorders present.”

Watch the video to see my full conversation with Bree Greenberg-Benjamin.

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