© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Online support group provides "hope and healing"

Antoinette Spicer
Voices of Hope co-founder Genevieve Mora
Voices of Hope co-founder Genevieve Mora   Photo supplied

A first of its kind online support group has been set up to provide hope and support to people struggling with eating disorders.

Voices of Hope co-founder Genevieve Mora and Australian based eating disorder recovery coach at endED Millie Thomas, want to use their experience to provide hope for others.

Voices of Hope is an Auckland based non-profit organisation which aims to breakdown mental health stigmas and spark hope through advocacy and storytelling.

Mora said the group was started last year after noticing a lack of support for those fighting eating disorders.

“Both Millie and I have fought our own battles with Anorexia,” Mora explained.

“These support groups provide a safe environment for people to share, ask questions, challenge their eating disorders and find hope.”

 

Eating disorder recovery coach at endED Millie Thomas
Eating disorder recovery coach at endED Millie Thomas Photo supplied

The pair usually run groups every three months. However, due to the lockdown, Mora said they have been holding weekly groups on Zoom.

“Isolation isn't great for anyone experiencing mental illness,'' Mora explained.

"Eating disorders thrive off vulnerability and anxiety, which many people are experiencing during this time."

Since running the Zoom group about 30 people have attended, ranging in age from 14 to 65.

Mora believes this shows the need for more support for those who are experiencing eating disorders.

“As far as Millie and I are aware, we are the first lived experience led support group in New Zealand.

“I know there are a couple of services that provide support groups, but they are not led by people who have suffered from eating disorders.”

The groups will continue for as long as they are needed. Once the lockdown is over, they will also run in-person support groups.

The online eating disorder support group runs every Friday from 2-3pm.

You can RSVP by emailing: hopeandhealingrsvp@gmail.com.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, you can also get help and information from: