CICMH Spotlight Interview with the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association

We spoke with Luciana Rosu-Sieza who is the Executive Director of the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (BANA) based out of Windsor, Ontario. The organization began in 1983 and has been a growing part of the community ever since. BANA was also a presenter at the recent CICMH Regional Forum held at University of Windsor in January 2018.

With its nine employees, Luciana described the organization as “small and mighty” with a large impact on both the community and the local post-secondary campuses.

BANA has also received lots of support from University of Windsor from its beginning and continues to build on their great relationship today. The organization takes on student interns from various programs both at University of Windsor and other campuses in the area. Building the relationship with campuses and students is important to BANA and something they are proud of.

Despite its small staff, BANA has over 300 clients and gives roughly 300 presentations a year in the community and surrounding area. The organization continues to look for ways to increase services with government funding and donations while ensuring they get the best value for money.

“Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness and it is estimated that 10% of individuals with it will die within 10 years of the onset of the disorder” said Luciana, “At Bana, our vision is to lead the way in prevention and comprehensive care.”

Some of the challenges that BANA deals with are similar to those of other mental health organizations deal with such as stigma and lack of awareness. Eating disorders are hard to treat due to the fact that food is not simply something that can be cut out like gambling and alcohol.

However, BANA has been working to break down the stigma and build awareness of the issue through various projects.

One example of this is their website which helps educate and inform the public of eating disorders and provide easy to use information for anyone looking to learn more. BANA has also been involved in the recent Bill tabled in the province’s legislature on eating disorders which aims to require disclaimers on retouched images or videos.

With all this great work going on, we asked Luciana what the next steps for BANA are and where she saw the organization heading.

“We hope to add a nurse practitioner to help manage the work as well as start a line of branded clothing to help raise more money for care. Of course, we also are always looking to build partnerships and integrate with other organizations.”

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