Comfort

A monologue about a young woman with an eating disorder begins a conversation about who is at risk, what to look out for, and how to get better. Featuring conversations with a young Latinx female, whose personal experience with an eating disorder challenges harmful stereotypes about who is at risk, and clinical therapist Dr. Samantha DeCaro.


The bathroom became my sanctuary. The things I did in here was a secret, and neither of us would tell.
— from "Comfort" by Taytiana Velasquez-Rivera

Eating disorders don’t discriminate. They can happen to anyone.

Still, there is a harmful misconception that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are limited to young white females. In truth, they can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, and ethnicity. In the United States alone, 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life. And incidence among women of color, in particular, is on the rise.

Yet like so many mental health issues, eating disorders are heavily stigmatized. People don’t talk about them, perpetuating dangerous misconceptions about who is at risk and keeping people from seeking help.

On this episode of Mouthful, we break open the stereotypes about eating disorders in conversations with:

  • Taytiana Velasquez-Rivera, a high school senior whose personal battle with an eating disorder inspired her to write “Comfort,” an award-winning monologue featured in the 2016 Young Voices Monologue Festival

  • Dr. Samantha DeCaro, a clinical therapist at The Renfrew Center, the country’s first residential eating disorder facility, founded in 1985, which now has 18 locations across the United States

the conversation

 
Dr. Samantha DeCaro, PsyD, is the Assistant Clinical Director at The Renfrew Center of Philadelphia, where she provides training and clinical supervision to the Center's primary therapists and post-doctoral residents. She has a wide range of experience providing individual, family, and group therapy for not only eating disorders, but also for trauma, personality disorders, substance abuse, and mood disorders. Dr. DeCaro has been featured in various media as a local eating disorder expert on various radio shows, television programs, and online magazines.

Dr. Samantha DeCaro, PsyD, is the Assistant Clinical Director at The Renfrew Center of Philadelphia, where she provides training and clinical supervision to the Center's primary therapists and post-doctoral residents. She has a wide range of experience providing individual, family, and group therapy for not only eating disorders, but also for trauma, personality disorders, substance abuse, and mood disorders. Dr. DeCaro has been featured in various media as a local eating disorder expert on various radio shows, television programs, and online magazines.

 

connections

The Renfrew Center has been the pioneer in the treatment of eating disorders since 1985. As the nation’s first residential eating disorder facility, now with 18 locations throughout the country, Renfrew has helped more than 75,000 adolescent girls and women with eating disorders and other behavioral health issues move towards recovery. Renfrew provides women who are suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and related mental health problems with the tools they need to succeed in recovery and in life. Offering a warm, nurturing environment, Renfrew emphasizes a respect for the unique psychology of women, the importance of a collaborative therapeutic relationship and the belief that every woman needs to actively participate in her own growth and recovery.

The Renfrew Center has been the pioneer in the treatment of eating disorders since 1985. As the nation’s first residential eating disorder facility, now with 18 locations throughout the country, Renfrew has helped more than 75,000 adolescent girls and women with eating disorders and other behavioral health issues move towards recovery.

Renfrew provides women who are suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and related mental health problems with the tools they need to succeed in recovery and in life. Offering a warm, nurturing environment, Renfrew emphasizes a respect for the unique psychology of women, the importance of a collaborative therapeutic relationship and the belief that every woman needs to actively participate in her own growth and recovery.

further reading & resources

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, there is a lot of support available.

The National Eating Disorder Association website is filled with information. 

If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.

The Renfrew Center is also available to help at 1-800-Renfrew. Calls are anonymous. 

Renfrew also provides great resources for caretakers and educators like this list of "Steps to Help Professionals Make a Difference in Schools"

Learn more about eating disorders as they relate to health insurance, legislation, and federal funding here.

Check out this article about a non-profit called The Garment Project, which provides women in recovery with new, size-less clothing, individualized for their healthy bodies and lifestyles. that provides new wardrobes and services that support women in recovery.


"Comfort" is performed by Taysha Canales and directed by Jay Gilman

Additional production support for "Comfort" was provided by Anne Hoffman

Digital content support was provided by Kiarah Cannady