The Looking Glass Foundation’s programs and services decrease isolation, instill hope, and sustain recovery for individuals across British Columbia who are impacted by eating disorders and disordered eating.
As a leading voice in supporting the needs of our community, the Looking Glass Foundation strives to support individuals struggling with eating disorders, as well as those who struggle with disordered eating and body image issues. We know that any of these disorders or issues can seriously impact an individual's life and that navigating support and treatment options can be challenging and costly. For this reason, all of our peer support programs are available to all genders, are offered at no cost, with no limit to duration or frequency of usage, and support individuals struggling with any type/subtype of eating disorder or disordered eating - no formal diagnosis is required. We also collaborate with the Provincial Health Services Authority on the Looking Glass Residence to offer an extensive, structured program for individuals ages 16-24 with eating disorders in a home-like, therapeutic environment.
Eating disorders are serious psychiatric disorders and when left unaddressed, the medical, psychological and social consequences can be serious and life-threatening. Eating disorders do not discriminate - they can affect people of any age, gender, race, income level, or sexual orientation. It is estimated that up to 1 million Canadians suffer from an eating disorder. Despite being widespread, eating disorders are still very misunderstood.
As a Foundation, we are aware of the harsh realities of this disorder and the work that still needs to be done in addressing treatment access and gaps, but we also approach all of our efforts with hope and perseverance. We know that eating disorder recovery is possible because we have witnessed the recovery of many of our program participants, some of whom come back as Looking Glass volunteers. Everyday we hear and share inspiring stories of our loved ones and those in our community who have recovered and are thriving. Knowing this, we continue the fight against eating disorders. Through innovative approaches to early intervention, support, recovery, and relapse prevention, we are able to make a real difference in people's lives.
In 2018, we directly helped over 500 individuals through our various programs. That is over 500 individuals who no longer feel alone, and now have a safe and welcoming community to embrace them as they embark on their recovery journey.
About The Looking Glass Foundation
The Looking Glass Foundation was co-founded in 2002 by dedicated parents seeking improved care for their loved ones suffering from eating disorders of every kind. Because of the commitment and courage of these parents, the Foundation established Canada’s first residential treatment centre for young people with eating disorders. What was originally the Woodstone Treatment Centre on Galiano Island was moved to Vancouver in 2014 and renamed the Looking Glass Residence, which is now operated in collaboration with the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).
Since 2002, we’ve been finding innovative ways of engaging and supporting people on the path to eating disorder recovery, and of filling the many gaps in existing services. Here are some highlights of our programs and services, as well as our outreach and advocacy work.
- At the Looking Glass Residence, up to 14 youth aged 16-24 receive 24/7 care and support, provided by a multi-disciplinary team of medical and mental health professionals. Youth participate in an intensive 12-week program of structured therapy in a caring, home-like setting. The Residence is a unique collaboration between the Looking Glass Foundation and the Provincial Health Services Authority. PHSA funds and operates the Residence. Looking Glass Foundation maintains the capital asset and funds Residence Enhancement Programs, such as art and music therapy, exercise integration, and restaurant challenge.
- In our fastest growing program, Hand in Hand, volunteer mentors provide weekly, in person support to individuals 16 years and older. Volunteers undergo excellent training and preparation by our eating disorder therapist. In 2018 alone, we had almost 100 matches, and the program continues to grow.
- Six times per week, volunteer moderators facilitate online, group support chats in real-time, that are safe, confidential, and encouraging for participants at any stage of their recovery. In 2018, we had 130 individuals who participated in nearly 300 Online Peer Support chats.
- At the beginning of 2018, we launched a new digital program called Personal Recovery Space where volunteer mentors provide a private digital forum accessible 24/7, offering empathetic, flexible, and confidential support to individuals 14 years and older. Since launching the program, we’ve had 70 unique participants use the service and on average we see 100 forum posts per month.
- Every year, recovered or recovering students receive scholarships that open new vistas of learning and help make their dreams a reality. In 2018, we had 52 students applicants and awarded 3 scholarships. Since launching this program in 2007, we have awarded $81,000 to 39 individuals.
- Our programs are made possible by our incredible volunteers. In 2018, 215 volunteers were actively deployed in directly supporting people with eating disorders, and that number is already increasing in 2019.
- Every week, LGF provides Triage & Support – guidance, information and referrals – to people emailing or calling for help on behalf of a loved one or seeking support related to their own eating disorder. This support service is pivotal because the emails and calls we receive are often the first step individuals are taking to share their story and ask for help.
- We offer presentations, send e-blasts, and post blogs to engage those who might be too timid to come forward, or don’t know what help is available, or are seeking supportive resources. In 2018, we posted 45 thoughtful blogs written by our staff and community members.
- Our carefully curated Social Media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn provide outreach to over 5,000 individuals and organizations.
- Throughout the year, we collaborate with many provincial and national eating disorder organizations on initiatives such as Eating Disorder Awareness Week, World Eating Disorders Action Day and other awareness campaigns. We believe we are stronger together.
From 2017 to 2018, the number of participants in our programs increased by 40%, and continues to increase in 2019. There is a strong demand for our programs and services, and we are committed to enhancing our impact and reach, so we can help as many individuals as possible. Your donations are so important to continuing our work – with your support we know we will make a difference in the lives of those who struggle with eating disorders.
What People Are Saying
"I would like to thank Looking Glass for starting this program because without it I don't think I would of started this journey towards recovery. It is people like you who go above what they have to do to help others and for that I am eternally thankful."
— Hand in Hand Participant
"As a first time visitor to the chat, thank you all for your kind words of encouragement and support. This means so much to me."
— Online Peer Support Participant
"I really look forward to the support through PRS and having people to reach out to. I no longer feel trapped or like I have to keep fighting this battle on my own."
— Personal Recovery Space Participant
"Thank you for initiating the Hand in Hand program, and for the care you put into matching me with my volunteer supporter. She has really stepped up for me. Just knowing she was there for me, and not judging me, helped me out of a dark place. "
— Hand in Hand Participant