Building Peer Supports for those with Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Nova Scotia

Eating disorders impact one in twelve people, yet resources and treatment are woefully inadequate and far too many people are unable to access support at all. Peer Support can help bridge the gap for those with mild to moderate eating disorders, support those while waiting for treatment, help people maintain recovery, and most of all, increase hope. Learn more about new research on Peer Support for those impacted by eating disorders and how this unique type of support can be accessed across Canada.


Shaleen Jones
Shaleen Jones has been an advocate, organizer, educator, and all-round rabble rouser in the field of eating disorders for over twenty years, holding leadership positions with community organizations such as the BC Eating Disorders Association, Laing House, Peer Support Canada, and CMHA National. Having overcome an eating disorder, she is passionate about recovery, the transformative power of peer support, and creating sustainable, systematic changes across the sector. Shaleen was one of the first people trained to provide peer support for those with eating disorders in Canada, and earned her Peer Support Certification from Peer Support Canada in 2015. Shaleen was recognized with an Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, and served on the Mental Health Advisory Council to the Federal Minister of Health. She is an active member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Hallway Group, Quality Mental Health Care Network, and the E-Mental Health Collaborative. She is a founding member of Canada’s Body Peace Collaborative. As the Executive Director for Eating Disorders NS Shaleen works to ensure that no-one in Nova Scotia has to face an eating disorder alone. She lives in Halifax with her son and their very loud cat.

Nikki Olguin
Hello! My name is Nicole (she/her). I am 25-years-old, a queer Latina, and currently living in Toronto, Ontario with my two beautiful pugs! I like to spend my time reading, watching scary movies, and volunteering. I struggled with disordered eating for many years, and it wasn’t until I found the right support and connected with those with lived experience that I discovered new ways of thriving. It was almost like I was meeting myself again – both a terrifying and beautiful experience and continues to be. I try to remember that being hard on myself isn’t my default and that it takes time to cultivate trust, kindness, and meaning, and connection can really be a catalyst to all of it. I am looking forward to meeting you where you are at in your own journey, to hear about your own unique challenges, to celebrate every success, and/or to just simply be there.

Key takeaways

  • International peer support: peer support that doesn't happen organically. Folks connecting with others mindfully and intentionally
  • 5 things needed: people with lived experience, training, ongoing support, evaluation, processes and procedures
  • When designing programs:
    • Is the target group engaged in design, delivery and evaluation?
    • Is there a clear role description and expectations?
    • Have you allocated appropriate staffing resources? 

Key Learning Objectives (defined by presenters)

  1. Participants will learn more about three types of Peer Support programs, and what training and supports allow for the safe and effective delivery of these services.

Key Themes

  1. Eating disorders
  2. Peer support
  3. Shared experience

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