New support service for Kiwis living with eating disorders

Monday, 14 September 2020, 10:12 amPress Release: Canopy New support service for Kiwis living with eating disorders welcomes people under its ‘canopy’ A new type of support to help New Zealanders healing from an eating disorder feel comforted and empowered to take positive steps towards full recovery has launched. Canopy […]

New support service for Kiwis living with eating disorders
welcomes people under its ‘canopy’

A new type of
support to help New Zealanders healing from an eating
disorder feel comforted and empowered to take positive steps
towards full recovery has launched.

Canopy Eating
Disorders Support Services (Canopy) is New Zealand’s first
eating disorder specific peer-to-peer support, both online
and in person, community-centric service. It makes practical
support affordable and accessible to all Kiwis affected by
eating disorders and disordered eating to help them flourish
and reclaim their lives.

The demand for support
services for affected Kiwis surged during the first COVID
lockdown – EDANZ, the charitable organisation offering
support and information to parents and carers of those with
eating disorders, has experienced four times the number of
approaches to their help lines since March this year,
compared to the same period last year.

Founded by
Christine Deacon, who saw the need for a social enterprise
that addresses a gap in the current healthcare landscape,
Canopy supports those suffering most.

“Recovery from
eating disorders is one hundred percent possible. I’ve
spent the past 12 months thoughtfully and carefully creating
Canopy in a way that ensures it is helpful, not harmful,”
says Christine, a recovered eating disorder

“My story is very similar to many people in
New Zealand who have suffered an eating disorder. When I was
16, I found myself at the start of an eight-year struggle
with an eating disorder. I reached out for help when I was
18 but I felt that my voice was not heard. I was told by
professionals to ‘just eat’, ‘love yourself’ and
‘get over it’. Some even ruled I wasn’t sick enough to
warrant care.”

It wasn’t until Christine was studying
a Law Degree at The University of Auckland, that she got the
professional help she needed for her illness – but by then
it was almost too late.

After a doctor acknowledged she
had grave indicators of deterioration she was hospitalised
and then went into outpatient care. Now, six years on,
Christine has made a full recovery and gone on to travel the
world, carve out a successful career in HR and business
entrepreneurship, and most recently, founded

During her personal struggle with disordered
eating, Christine was exposed to what she says were clear
gaps and opportunities in care services. It propelled her to
create systemic, sustainable change for Kiwis. Inspired and
supported by ‘sister organisations’ overseas, Christine
set up Canopy. Canopy adopts internationally proven and
successful support service models, content and resources
from equivalent overseas organisations.

Dr. Karen
Trollope, Medical Director at Body Brave Canada, one of
those organisations, welcomes the development of Canopy in
New Zealand.

“Community-based initiatives like Canopy
fill a crucial gap in the recovery journey for those
suffering from eating disorders. Research has shown that the
early intervention and support that these initiatives can
provide improves recovery outcomes,” says Dr Karen

With harrowing facts showing the severity of the
illness – one person dies every hour as a direct result of
an eating disorder*, eating disorders have the highest
mortality rate of any mental illness** and people with
anorexia are 56 times more likely to commit suicide than
people without an eating disorder***, Christine says Canopy
has arrived at a crucial time.

Canopy’s support services
will be run by trained volunteers and include free Cloud
Support which will be a secure, confidential and moderated
online support messaging function, and Peer2Peer Support
with in-person or virtual face-to-face support

There will also be weekend intensives for busy
Kiwis wishing to take part in group sessions run by
professionals such as psychotherapists, counsellors and

“I know first-hand how hard it can be living
with an eating disorder. I didn’t have the support I
needed in my community at the time, but hopefully with
Canopy we are able to give people that don’t have support
in their life a sense that they are being looked after and
that there is someone they can turn to, even if they feel
completely alone,” adds Christine.

Canopy’s support
services go live on 1 October 2020.

If you or someone
you know could benefit from Canopy’s support services, or
want to volunteer to become a trained supporter, please
visit to enrol in the first intake.

you are a forward-thinking clinician interested in seeing
eating disorder support services grow in New Zealand, or a
company with wellness objectives and would like to partner
with Canopy, please contact

© Scoop Media


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