“I got a text from Billie that says ‘I’m not okay, I think I overdosed,’” said Billie’s mom, Robin. “When I first realized Billie had an eating disorder, it was about four months before the suicide attempt.”
Billie says the eating disorder developed gradually and she didn’t notice it until others pointed it out as a problem. “I had no appetite throughout the day and forcing myself to eat would make me feel sick, so I just stopped eating.”
Billie went to traditional therapy but after a few months, Robin knew it wasn’t working and Billie needed more. Billie entered the Providence Adult/Adolescent Eating Disorders Treatment Program. Patients of this partial hospitalization program receive intense therapy five days a week and return home each evening.
The partial hospitalization program is currently located across the street from Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in a leased space. It will move into new, expanded space within the medical center later this year.
About eating disorders
The majority of eating disorders begin before the age of 18. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of all mental illnesses and some patients may also have depression, anxiety or problems with substance abuse.
“There are three main components that contribute to the emergence of an eating disorder,” says Jason Stone, M.D., addiction psychiatrist. “Genetics/biology, their own personal experiences and social factors.” People with eating disorders are also at a higher risk for suicide and medical complications.
The Providence eating disorders program is the only one in Oregon that accepts Medicaid. Serving the poor and vulnerable is at the core of our Mission, and these patients have no other place to go for treatment.
Why is the clinic moving?
Most patients participate in the program for 2 to 3 months and there is currently a waitlist of 3 to 4 months. With the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, we are limited to treating 20 patients at a time.
Moving the program to an expanded space in Providence St. Vincent Medical Office Building will allow up to 30 patients each day once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Additional advantages to being located in Providence St. Vincent include:
- Larger space will allow for more family therapy
- Space will allow for additional privacy and safety measures for participants
- Meal groups will occur within the space. Currently, patients are bused over to Providence St. Vincent, get food from the cafeteria and eat in a conference room together.
- Improved laundry and food delivery
- Easier to obtain lab work
“They really took care of me,” said Billie. “I got to see my therapist every day and my doctor once a week. Even during meals, therapists were very caring. They understood people’s eating disorders and knew how to help them during meals.”
Your support will save lives
We need to raise $250,000 to complete the move and renovation for the program. Your gift will ensure a larger, safer and more comfortable place for these vulnerable patients and their families. You can help more patients receive treatment for their eating disorders and make a real difference in the lives of those we serve.
"They really took care of me. I got to see my therapist every day and my doctor once a week."