Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Calling all Good People in the World

“My name is Sofia Benbahmed and I am trying to do everything in my power to get the help I need. I am currently trying to raise money to get the treatment recommended for me for a disease I have had for 12 years - an eating disorder.”

Through a close friend, Mary at Miss Mary Max (a fabulous, detailed, and highly cerebral blog discussing gender, social, health, and sexual issues) I became aware of Sofia’s plight. Like many people the world over, Sofia is struggling to gain ground over her illness, which could take her life. In 2008 Sofia’s insurance company ceased covering her treatments, just as she was beginning to improve and take control back from her debilitating and wasting disease. Eating disorder treatment is very expensive because of the aggressive and thorough approach that treatment requires - nursing, nutritional counseling, psychiatric/medication administration and monitoring, 24 hour a day counseling and monitoring, multiple group therapy sessions daily and several individual therapy sessions weekly. Sofia received three weeks of treatment, covered by her insurance company, United Behavioral Health (an oxymoron of a name, at best), and was forced to leave treatment. Her family is now embroiled in a legal battle to gain back the coverage that could save her life.

Her goal is to raise $15,000 to ensure her full six weeks of treatment, a staggering and sickening amount brought to you by the corporatization of America’s health care system and the view of many politicians and insurance company big-wigs who clearly must think that people like Sofia should just eat a sandwich and get over it. Sofia could really use $30,000. We won’t even talk about how outrageous that cost is for a single individual struggling in this country with any illness, much less a mental one.

If you can donate to Sofia’s fund, please click here. There is also an option to donate directly to Sofia’s treatment through Monte Nido, her treatment facility – just contact Sofia through her blog. If you’d like to write scathing letters to the fat cats at United Behavioral Health, click here for contact information. I urge you to also contact your state’s representatives about the crippling corruption in US insurance companies. Click here to find out how.

Put yourself or a loved one in Sofia’s place, a young girl, brave enough to seek help and ask for assistance from total strangers. Her path is not an easy one. Can you help her take another step in the right direction?

  • 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Eating Disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide (The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders)
  • 90 % of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25 (SAMHSA)
  • It is estimated that currently 11% of high school students have been diagnosed with an eating disorder (ANAD)
  • While women are more commonly affected by eating disorders, more than a million men and boys battle the illness every day (
  • 91 % of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting, 22% dieted “often” or “always” (Kurth, Krahn, Nairn, Drewnowski, 1995)
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
  • A young woman with anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without proper treatment (American Journal of Psychiatry)
  • Five to ten percent of anorexics die within ten years of onset, 18-20 percent die within twenty years of onset, and only 50 percent report ever being cured (American Psychiatric Association)
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems (The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders)

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