National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

The truth about real, life-threatening illnesses with potentially fatal consequences

At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. According to National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, every hour at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder. This is the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Let’s Get Real…it’s time to understand these disorders.

Eating disorders are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. They affect men and women, transgender people, people of color, older people, young children, people with disabilities, and people from every walk of life. Stereotyping eating disorders and those living with them continues stigma that prevents people from getting help. During National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, from February 26–March 4, 2018, educate yourself and be prepared to support someone you know struggling with a deadly disorder.

The 9 Truths About Eating Disorders

Many facts about eating disorders are unknown or masked by myth. Here are 9 things you should know.

  • Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.
  • Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.
  • An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.
  • Eating disorders are not choices, but serious, biologically-influenced illnesses.
  • Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.
  • Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.
  • Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.
  • Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.
  • Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

Common Warning Signs

Warning signs can be physical and behavioral. A person living with an eating disorder will often display both types of warnings.


  • Weight loss, dieting, and control of food are primary concerns
  • Food rituals
  • Social withdrawal
  • Frequent dieting, body checking
  • Extreme mood swings


  • Noticeable weight fluctuations
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
  • Issues with dental, skin, hair, and nail health


How to Help

  • learn as much as you can about eating disorders
  • be honest and vocal about your concerns
  • be caring and firm
  • suggest they seek help from a physician or therapist
  • be a good role model and practice what you preach

What Doesn’t Help

  • place shame, blame, or guilt
  • make rules or promises that you cannot or will not uphold
  • give simple solutions
  • invalidate their experience or try to convince
  • give advice about weight, exercise, or appearance
  • ignore or avoid the situation until it is severe or life-threatening

Start Fighting Eating Disorders Today

Eating disorders can affect anyone. The good news is, there are inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatments. If you or someone you know may be struggling with an eating disorder, start with a confidential screening at

Learn more about eating disorders at To get crisis help or start treatment, call 1-888-235-HOPE (4673) anytime, every day.

More Overdose Reversal Kits to Save Lives

More consumers will now have access to the life-saving drug, naloxone, thanks to Partners Behavioral Health Management distributing more than 1200 doses.

“It’s a harm reduction approach to recovery,” said Michele Mathis—Co-Founder and Executive Director, Olive Branch Ministry—who conducts naloxone training. “Cops wear vests and people use seatbelts, not because they plan on getting shot or in an accident, but just in case. These kits are not permission to use, they are permission to keep yourself safe.”

Partners Opioid Overdose Kits (pictured right), contain two doses of NARCAN; a resource card describing overdose signs and symptoms, how to use NARCAN, the need to call 911 immediately, and other rescue tips; and a pocket card with Partners’ 24/7 Access to Care Line number: 1-888-235-HOPE (4673).

At the training and distribution on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, Michelle Mathis of Olive Branch Ministry and Lynne Grey of Partners, discuss how to talk to those receiving the kits about the risks of overdose, the North Carolina Good Samaritan and Naloxone Access Law, and administering NARCAN.

At the training and distribution on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, Michelle Mathis of Olive Branch Ministry and Lynne Grey of Partners, discuss how to talk to those receiving the kits about the risks of overdose, the North Carolina Good Samaritan and Naloxone Access Law, and administering NARCAN.

People with substance use disorders are at the highest risk of overdose when they get out of jail or a treatment facility. If they use drugs again, they tend to use the same amount they used before starting recovery. However, their body can no longer handle that much of the drug. The result is an overdose causing the heart and breathing to slow or stop, often leading to death. Naloxone may reverse the effects of opioids in one to three minutes. This is why Partners and substance use disorder treatment providers in its provider network continue to use the kits as proactive clinical tools. By giving naloxone directly to those who may need it most, they prevent emergencies, save lives, and advance recovery.

Partners distributed over 600 Opioid Overdose Kits, each containing two doses of the NARCAN® brand of naloxone, to its providers offering state-funded opioid addiction treatment, at a training on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 in Hickory, NC. At the training, providers discussed how to distribute the kits within a clinical setting and how to talk to those receiving the kits about the risks of overdose, the North Carolina Good Samaritan and Naloxone Access Law, and administering NARCAN. Although Partners has distributed more than 600 kits to people in substance use disorder services funded by Medicaid, this marks the first time they were able to expand the program to state-funded services.

“Providers can have a therapeutic conversation with people in recovery and tell them we care about them, we care about their safety, and we want them to live,” said Lynne Grey, MA, LPC, LCAS, CSI, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Utilization Management Manager, Partners Behavioral Health Management. “We encourage them to work on their goals for recovery. We teach them resources for treatment and we reinforce that if they use again, stay alive and let’s get back to treatment.”

Enrollee Navigator | Choosing a Provider?

In this issue of Behavioral Health Focus, we want to tell you about your right to choose the provider in our network you want to see and your right to change providers if you feel you need to work with someone else.

Usually, when you need to start getting help for a behavioral health problem, you speak to someone in our Access to Care department at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673). When you and the Access to Care professional decide what sort of treatments may work best, you are given an option of providers offering those treatments and accepting the funding source covering you. Based on what is important to you, whether it is finding a provider speaking a specific language or one located in a particular area, you choose who you want to see.

You can change providers at any time by calling our Access to Care department anytime, every day at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673). Of course, you will still have to pick a provider in our network who offers the same services you currently get.

If you receive Medicaid, you may be able to have an out-of-area provider. Our Network Management Department will make sure the provider is credentialed and offers the appropriate services you need. Please be sure to contact our Access to Care department before receiving services from an out-of-area or out-of-network provider. If you get treatment not authorized, you may have to pay the bill.

Whether you are new Partners consumer or just switching providers, it is a good idea to take the following items with you to your first appointment:

  • A list of current prescribed and over-the-counter medications
  • A list of programs you have attended
  • A list of dates for any hospitalizations
  • Your Medicaid ID card, if you are on Medicaid
  • Any other insurance cards if you have them
  • Proof of income

Please remember, the provider network does change as agencies join or leave the network. You have the right to see any provider in the network offering the services you need and accepting your type of health care funding. If you ever have concerns or questions about your provider choices, please call 1-888-235-HOPE (4673).

In the Community 

Hickory Brain Injury Support Group Pot Luck Dinner

Come to the next support group meeting for good food and fellowship. Everyone is encouraged to bring a dish to share at the Pot Luck Dinner on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 6 p.m. The meeting is at First United Methodist Church, 311 3rd Ave. NE, Hickory. For more information, contact Travis Glass at 828-781-0778 or You can also check them out on

Peer Support Learning Coalition: Peers to Pearls

Join Certified Peer Support Specialist and Trainer, Patty Schaeffer, at the March gathering of “Peers to Pearls,” a new learning coalition for NC Peer Support Specialists! These free, reoccurring gatherings will focus on effectively building Peer Support Specialists skills, including motivational strategies and techniques, problem solving, and critical thinking. Attendees will receive training to enhance their employment opportunities and navigate the responsibilities of a Peer Support Specialist. Coffee, snacks, and water will also be provided. The next meeting is on Saturday, March 3, 2018 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at Christ United Methodist Church – 3415 Union Rd, Gastonia, NC. To attend, please register online. For more information, contact Patty Schaeffer of WellSurgent at 704-466-2570. This learning coalition is hosted by WellSurgent and sponsored by Partners Training Academy.

Alternatives to Guardianship Training: Supported, Not Supplanted, Decision-Making

As a parent or loved one of a person with a disability, you’ve been their fiercest ally, protector and advocate. What happens when he or she turns 18 and is legally an adult? If you are considering guardianship or are currently a guardian, this session is a must for you. We will explore how to provide just the right amount of support for people with disabilities as they make good and bad decisions, and grow and learn from them all. Register to join trainer Holly Stiles, Senior Attorney at Disability Rights North Carolina, on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at Partners’ Gastonia corporate office, 901 S. New Hope Road, Gastonia, NC, or on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, from 3-5 p.m. at 1985 Tate Blvd. SE, Hickory, NC 28602. The training is free.

Partners Health Summit: TREATING the OPIOID CRISIS

Learn about local solutions and treatments for North Carolina’s Opioid Epidemic at this free educational conference, sponsored by Partners Behavioral Health Management. Keynote Speaker Dr. Omar Manejwala presents “The Opioid Epidemic – A Wicked Problem,” – about the complicated, poorly understood opioid crisis in the U.S. SAVE THE DATE! April 6, 2018, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Hickory Metro Convention Center, 1960 13th Ave. Dr. SE, Hickory, NC 28602. ADMISSION IS FREE! Registration opens soon!

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 3 – Issue 14
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