Twice a year, people from across the country – friends and strangers – join the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) in Washington D.C. for National Lobby Day. On these days, these advocates come together to make their voices heard for the recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority. The next National Lobby Day is approaching fast – on April 23rd and April 24th 2012, EDC will be advocating for the FREED Act (Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders).
Why is it so important to participate in these events?
- Because eating disorders are deadly. Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa are 57 times more likely than their peers without eating disorders to commit suicide.
- Because eating disorders affect everyone. Approximately 12.5 million people – all ages, all genders – in the United States suffer from some form of an eating disorder.
- Because most insurance companies do not cover treatment for eating disorders. So many people who suffer never get the level of care that they truly need, and may even go completely untreated.
What is the FREED Act?
The FREED Act, if passed, would help to provide better access to care, education and prevention, and research – all of which would help to save lives. You can read the Eating Disorders Coalition’s summary of the FREED Act here.
How can I get involved?
Even if you can’t make it to the EDC National Lobby Day in Washington D.C., you can still help EDC in their efforts to advocate for the FREED Act by joining the “Phone in for FREED” Campaign. All you need is a little bit of time and a phone to make an impact.
This is how it works:
– STEP ONE: Find out who your members of congress are (www.congress.gov) – you’ll have one representative and two senators and get their phone numbers.
– STEP TWO: Place your calls to your members of congress – you can use the following script: “Hi, My name is Jane and I’m calling to urge your boss to become a co-sponsor of the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders, HR 1448 (when you’re calling your Representative’s office) or S 481 (when you’re calling your Senator’s offices)….Should I leave a message with you about this or is there someone in your office who would be better talk to about this bill? (wait for response) … The FREED Act is important to me because….(share why it’s important to you).”
***Make sure you get the name of the person you talked to and make sure you THANK THEM for their time and ask them when you should follow-up.
***Now, if you’re talking to a person vs. leaving a message, they might ask you a couple questions, or share a story about a friend they know who had an eating disorder, etc.. Don’t worry if you can’t answer the questions. Just let them know you’ll be happy to have someone get back to them (then you’ll forward those questions (and the contact info of the office who asked them) to the Policy Assistant email address above).
– STEP THREE: Email the EDC Policy Assistant to let EDC know who you called and what they said: firstname.lastname@example.org
– STEP FOUR: Encourage your friends and family members to join you and do the same! Simply show them this webpage and explain to them why this act is so important to you.
Check for updates and procedures for EDC’s National Lobby Day on their website http://www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org/LobbyDayApril2012.htm. This video from the EDC website also provides a simple overview of how lobby days work and how you can make a difference.