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Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Program

The Eating Disorders Program has been identified as a regional leader in assessment, treatment, and professional training for adolescent eating disorders in the Central East region of Ontario. The Central East region includes all eating disorder service initiatives of the Ministry of Health for Peterborough, Haliburton, Durham Region, Simcoe County, Kawartha, Pine Ridge, and York Region.

The Program is affiliated with the University of Toronto and York University for ongoing research. Members of the Eating Disorders Program team regularly present at provincial, national, and international conferences.

The Program's Vision
Our family-oriented treatment team respects each client's individuality and well-being, and encourages them to actively participate in their own growth and recovery. Treatment is designed to be collaborative rather than imposed, interactive rather than passive, and personal rather than distant or neutral. Our program fosters our clients' reconnection with their feelings and helps them listen to their bodies. Our staff encourages self-awareness, self-understanding and self-compassion.

What are Eating Disorders?
Eating Disorders are the expressions of a range of food and weight issues that both men and women experience. Both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are characterized by an intense fear of weight-gain and low self-esteem.

What is anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is most often characterized by extreme weight-loss. Most individuals with anorexia have a distorted body image and may be convinced they are fat even if they are emaciated. These individuals typically have an intense fear of weight gain and may restrict their food intake to the point of starvation.

What is bulimia nervosa?
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by periods of secretive and/or uncontrollable binge eating. This behaviour may be followed by attempts to purge the body of the unwanted food by laxative abuse, self-induced vomiting, use of diet pills, food restriction or excessive exercise.

The Eating Disorders Program offers the following services:

The program is open to individuals 13 to 18 years of age who suffer from an eating disorder and live in York Region or Simcoe County. As part of the process of gaining access to any of Southlake's treatment services (e.g., Out-patient Program, Day Treatment Program), individuals and their families receive a half-day multidisciplinary assessment and are offered feedback and recommendations concerning diagnosis and treatment. Each assessment includes a family interview and separate individual sessions with a therapist and a dietitian. A medical assessment by the referring physician will be required in advance.

Out-patient Program
For those clients who are able to manage and function sufficiently well in the community, services offered may include one or more of the following:
  • individual therapy
  • family therapy
  • nutritional counseling
  • psycho-education classes for families
  • parent support group, and/or
  • therapeutic groups for adolescents.
Day Treatment Program
For those clients who find it difficult to manage their eating disorder symptoms without more intensive support, our Day Treatment Program may be more appropriate. Clients participate in a half-day of schooling in a specialized care and treatment class room in the morning (our teacher is provided by the York Region District School Board) and a half-day of therapy in the afternoon, which may include group therapy, individual or family therapy. Families are required to actively participate in weekly family meetings and weekly family education nights. While attending the Day Treatment Program, clients are required to eat three meals and two snacks daily. Typical goals for our Day Treatment clients may include weight restoration, symptom interruption, normalized eating and interruption of negative thinking patterns that support the problem.

In-patient Program
The Eating Disorders Program provides in-patient services for up to 2 patients in a specialized Child and Adolescent Mental Health in-patient unit, staffed by a multidisciplinary team of Paediatricians, Psychiatrists, Nurses, a Nurse Practitioner, Child and Youth Counselors, and Dieticians. Access to the beds are made as transfer requests from other programs and facilities, the Emergency Department, and from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Out-patient Services of Southlake.

Young Adult Eating Disorders Program
The Young Adult Eating Disorders Program is a regional program designed to assist young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years who suffer with eating disorders to achieve normalized eating, healthy weight and an improved relationship to their body and self. For more information, please visit Young Adult Eating Disorders section of this website. 

Referring to the Program
A Physician's referral is required to be admitted to the program.

To refer a client to the Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Program, physicians should download and complete the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Eating Disorders Program Referral form and fax it to 905-830-5979. Attention: Regional Intake Worker.

More Information 
For more information about the Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Program, please call 905-895-4521, ext. 2825.


Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
Copyright © 2012 Southlake Regional Health Centre