SGG Short Film Series

The outcome of our much larger Something’s Gotta Give campaign, this short film series isn't just about raising awareness around the realities of eating disorders. These films seek to change up the way we -- as individuals, as institutions, as a society -- actually go about beating this disease.

The sad truth is this: If our approach to fighting eating disorders these past decades were enough, the trajectory of the disease wouldn't be as scary as it is: escalating, indiscriminate, deadly.

In these fifteen short films, fifty-five impassioned individuals -- recovering, recovered, loved ones, and practitioners -- give voice to themes expressed over and over again among the many hundreds of people who made submissions to our SGG campaign. They are themes that beg for action in answer to our campaign question:

If we’re really going to get to the other side of eating disorders, something’s gotta give ... What is it?

Despite decades of fighting this disease, eating disorders are actually on the rise. The numbers of sufferers are escalating at a frightening pace, more kids are being affected at an earlier age, and lives are being compromised – or altogether lost. One of the things that’s gotta give if we’re really going to get to the other side of eating disorders is our complacency. What we’re doing is not enough. It’s time for action. It’s time to ramp up the effort.

  Released: December 8, 2017

Eating disorders aren't something most people know much about, and those who think they do are often misinformed -- believing and perpetuating some troublesome myths about the disease. One of the things that's gotta give if we're really going to get to the other side of eating disorders is our tolerance for misinformation. We need to bust the myths! Eating disorders are NOT ...

  • About vanity, about looking good - they're about suffering
  • About food -- they're about much deeper emotional issues
  • Just a young person's disease -- people of all ages suffer
  • A woman's disease -- men are affected too, as is the LGBTQ+ community
  • A simple disease -- eating disorders are complex
  • Discernible by the way someone looks -- sufferers come in all body shapes
  • A choice people make -- they're a serious mental illness
  Released: December 8, 2017

One of the things that’s gotta give if we’re really going to get to the other side of eating disorders is to stop downplaying the suffering they inflict. This is a painful mental illness. The depth of despair is almost unimaginable to someone who hasn’t been affected. For so many who suffer, eating disorders are a way of grasping for control, of seeking comfort, of coping amidst internal chaos. They don’t just take up a little bit of space in a person’s life, they can be all-consuming – a constant struggle amidst painful emotions and deeply distressing thoughts. If we’re going to beat this disease, we need to get real about the suffering.

  Released: December 8, 2017

One of the things that's gotta give if we're really going to get to the other side of eating disorders is our lack of understanding and support for the loved ones of those affected by the disease. Watching someone struggle with this disease can be overwhelming. It hits them from out of nowhere, and takes time to get past the denial that something is actually wrong -- and the (misplaced) guilt that they may have contributed somehow. Loved ones can experience enormous trauma: confusion, helplessness, family disruption. And because people cope with this trauma in different ways, relationships within families and marriages are often strained. Eating disorders are even hard on friendships, and change the very nature of those relationships. Part of the fight against eating disorders is about supporting those on the front line: the loved ones.

  Released: December 19, 2017

How we think about mental health -- and about EDs as a serious mental health issue -- is one of the things that's gotta give if we're really going to get to the other side of this disease. As a culture, we have so normalized food and body image obsession that we fail to recognize eating disorders as the disease that it is -- a disease as worthy of immediate intervention as any other illness. While awareness about mental health issues is deepening, the place of eating disorders within mental health is unclear. Eating disorders are a crisis, but not one that's getting the attention it deserves. The tragic consequence of this confusion and stigma around eating disorders means is that people are suffering behind closed doors, afraid to come forward for help. That is not okay. Something's gotta give.

  Released: December 19, 2017

Eating disorders are partly a product of Western values, of a culture that obsesses about body image, a consumer society that has so commercialized imperfection that being okay with how one looks has become an almost radical concept. These values are entrenched and promoted in misleading advertising messages and images. Worse still, the disease of eating disorders is glamourized in social media -- a realm in which how we package our image and present our life has become more important than who we are and how we live. On so many levels, we've gotten away from the things that matter and it's leaving us disconnected and in despair, desperate to just "numb out". If we're really going to get to the other side of eating disorders, this toxic culture has gotta give.

  Released: January 3, 2018

Our culture objectifies and over-sexualizes women in pervasive and profoundly demeaning ways. Our value as people, regardless of gender, has become linked with how young, thin, and attractive we are. It's a distortion so insidious it affects the way we view and talk about our own and other's bodies, our own and other's worth. In this barren social landscape, is it any wonder eating disorders are so rampant? If we're really going to get to the other side of eating disorders, this toxic culture has gotta give.

  Released: January 3, 2018

We live in a world of complex and confusing messages about food. That the multi-billion dollar diet industry has made food and weight-loss a societal obsession has much less to do with our wellbeing than it does with generating profit. Food marketers demonize some foods over others, with the culprits shifting over time in ways that leave us baffled. What we eat is less about nourishing our bodies these days than it is making a statement about who we are. However hard that is to navigate for someone without an eating disorder, it can be deadly for those who develop the disease. For them, negotiating and maintaining a healthy relationship with food is an unimaginably complex day-to-day challenge. If we're ever going to get to the other side of eating disorders, we've gotta start making sense when it comes to food and nourishing our bodies.

  Released: January 8, 2018

One thing that's gotta give if we're really going to get to the other side of eating disorder, is the dearth of healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable about EDs. It can be an act of courage for someone with an eating disorder to come forward for help -- but finding it can be incredibly challenging. There are very few ED specialists in our healthcare system and very little training in EDs for doctors and other practitioners. Their lack of knowledge and sensitivity can alienate sufferers, leaving them feeling hopelessly misunderstood. The widespread myth that one can diagnose an eating disorder (or it's severity) based on how a person looks, leaves many sufferers believing they're just "not sick enough" to get the treatment and support they need -- driving them deeper into their mental illness. The notion that they aren't capable of knowing what support they need very often leaves them out of the treatment conversation altogether. ED sufferers not only need to find their voice and share their reality, they need to be heard.

  Released: January 12, 2018

One thing that's gotta give if we're really going to get to the other side of eating disorders, is the ineffectiveness of many ED treatment approaches. So many sufferers are feeling hopelessly stuck in programs and therapies that just don't resonate and simply aren't helpful. Rather than re-examine their approaches, practitioners sometimes blame the sufferers -- telling them they aren't "ready" or "motivated" to recover, or that they're somehow "treatment resistant". The truth is, even among practitioners, it isn't always clear as to what effective ED treatment really is. We either vastly oversimplify the complexity of EDs or apply "cookie cutter" approaches to individual aspects of the disease -- without consistently getting traction on recovery. There is a dire need for innovation in treatment, for approaches that work.

  Released: January 12, 2018

If we're ever really going to get to the other side of eating disorders, something's gotta give in terms of the availability, quality, and cost of ED programming. In addition to early prevention programming in our schools and communities and the availability of better information resources generally, we need to ensure there are enough support and treatment programs for those who suffer. The lack of programming at present is simply untenable. Moreover, for the programs that are available, there are often unacceptable wait times or excessive restrictions. ED program design needs to better respond to the needs of individual sufferers -- wherever they are in their recovery journey. Treatment needs to be delivered with respect and compassion and flexibility and they need to be affordable, here in Canada. Currently, at enormous personal expense, so many have to look outside the country for residential treatment. And while private, individual therapy is on offer, the fees are often prohibitive -- barely offset (if at all) for those fortunate enough to have private healthcare plans.

  Released: January 19, 2018

One thing that's gotta give if we're really going to get to the other side of eating disorders is our paltry investment in ED research. As shocking as the statistics around EDs are, the disease is grossly under-reported given our diagnostic and data collection systems. Moreover, there's a critical need for dedicated new research -- into prevention, incidence among different populations, neuroscience, and treatment efficacy, for example -- and that involves all the stakeholders, including those who suffer from the disease or love someone who does. Most of all, we need investment. We need to break the cycle of needing research to justify funding in the absence of funded research.

  Released: January 19, 2018

Given that some 1.5 million Canadians are affected by EDs and that they're one of our deadliest mental health issues, it's unfathomable that EDs aren't getting more government attention -- and is one thing that's absolutely gotta give if we're going to really get to the other side of eating disorders. We are in dire need of funding for ED research, prevention, and treatment. Our two-tiered healthcare is a disgraceful injustice for those suffering from EDs. Our provincial and federal governments' failure to make EDs a priority is part of why this disease continues to escalate. The time for action is now.

  Released: January 25, 2018

For too long, those who most understand the tragedy and urgency of EDs have been working in isolation -- and that's one thing that's gotta give if we're really going to get to the other side of this disease. A collaborative, national strategy around eating disorders needs to happen urgently. While it needs to be comprehensive in scope and driven by clear outcomes and impacts, it has to begin effecting much needed change as soon as possible. Already, an inter-provincial network is forming and preliminary work has been done. Ours is an agenda that desperately needs to be on the radar screens of our provincial and federal governments, other influencers and investors, and the Canadian public.

  Released: January 25, 2018

One thing that's gotta give if we're really going to get to the other side of eating disorders is our lack of resolve that recovery is possible. However one defines it, recovery from an ED is possible. It has as many faces as the people who fight for it, but the one thing they all share is incredible courage. But this is not a disease that affects only individuals; it affects our whole society. Surely Canadians everywhere can muster as much resolve and tenacity as those who have recovered from this devastating mental illness. After so many years of watching this disease escalate, wreaking pain and misery on so many of us, can we finally come together, lock arms, and agree that something's gotta give?

  Released: January 29, 2018

DO YOU AGREE THAT SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE?