Most people with eating disorders suffer in silence years before they are able to speak up for help. Yet we know that early intervention leads to improved outcomes for those struggling. Denial, uncertainty, and ambivalence are roadblocks to providing this much needed care and support early on in one’s illness.

This time of uncertainty is also the time that interventions are most powerful.

Families, friends, and providers often feel concerned during the initial stages, however, without the right questions and information, might dismiss an eating disorder as related to something else – depression, anxiety, or a milder form of disordered eating. That is why Walden Behavioral Care and Walden Center for Education and Research make it a priority to provide education and awareness in our communities.

Our clinical outreach activities at Walden have increased dramatically over the past few years as various professionals have become more aware of eating disorders and their potential for devastating physical and psychological effects on an individual. It is our goal to educate key positions in the community in order to increase our patients’ chances at reaching recovery sooner into diagnosis.

Throughout the years, we have built relationships with primary care physicians, dentists, schools, coaches, and families that have proven successful at achieving earlier detection and earlier treatment. Each have a unique view on a person’s well-being: primary care providers and dentists can detect clusters of medical concerns and signs, while school personnel, coaches, friends, and families are often privy to the behavioral changes and emotional struggles that emerge as an eating disorder takes hold. Our mission has been two-fold: to increase awareness of the reality of eating disorders, and to encourage people to be brave enough to raise their concern. We also want to assure that when an individual is ready to go back to school, college, work or home, that they are surrounded by people who understand their role and how to lend support.

If you work for an organization, group practice, school or other program that you think might benefit from further education in 2016 please be in touch. For more information on our outreach programs or to learn how we can support your community in this shared mission, please contact Kristin Brawn at


Renee-Nelson-240x300Renee Bazinet Nelson, Psy.D, is Walden’s director of adolescent services. She has comprehensive responsibility for adolescent intensive outpatient programs including oversight of all ambulatory clinics, new program development, program staffing, selection and supervision of staff, budgeting and compliance with all organizational and regulatory agency standards. Formerly, she served as assistant director of Walden’s Worcester clinic. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology with a concentration in health psychology from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and completed her post-doctoral training at the Cambridge Eating Disorder Center in Massachusetts.