9 Best Charities That Combat Anorexia Nervosa (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Combat Anorexia Nervosa (Complete 2022 List)

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Alycia O'Dell

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Anorexia nervosa is the second most common eating disorder in the US. An estimated 30 million people in the US will be diagnosed with an eating disorder in their lifetime, and they can be fatal if left untreated. In fact, one person dies every 52 seconds as a direct result of their eating disorder. Yet, only 10% of those with eating disorders ever receive treatment. Fortunately, organizations around the world are working to raise awareness, provide support, and increase access to treatment for people living with anorexia nervosa. So, we had to ask: what are the best charities that combat anorexia nervosa?

The best charities that combat anorexia nervosa are the National Eating Disorder Association and the National Alliance for Eating Disorders. Charities such as the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders and FEAST work to improve the lives of those with anorexia nervosa and their caregivers by focusing on peer support.

Whether you want to raise awareness of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, support a caregiver helping their loved one recover, or help a newly diagnosed person understand their condition and find treatment, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that combat anorexia nervosa are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Combat Anorexia Nervosa Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. The majority operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some combat anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders internationally.

Many of these charities provide direct support to people with anorexia nervosa. Others ensure that the families and caregivers of those suffering have the support and tools they need to help their loved ones to heal. Some offer direct assistance by providing resources and educational materials, while others work toward a brighter future for those with eating disorders by funding research and raising awareness. Yet, they all share a common goal; to combat anorexia nervosa and help those affected to lead more productive and fulfilling lives. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Help Combat Anorexia Nervosa

Below are our favorite charities that help combat Anorexia Nervosa:

  • National Eating Disorders Association
  • National Alliance for Eating Disorders
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
  • FEAST
  • Project HEAL
  • SeekHer Foundation
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
  • Mental Health America

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

National Eating Disorders Association: Turning Suffering into Healing

The National Eating Disorders Association was formed in 2001 as a merger between Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention and the American Anorexia Bulimia Association; the two largest and longest-standing eating disorder organizations in the world. Today, the charity is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting those affected by eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the National Eating Disorder Association a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Silver Seal of Transparency. 

Feeding hope.

National Eating Disorders Association

What they do: The National Eating Disorders Association combats eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, by providing programs and services designed to support those affected in overcoming their illness. For example, their online Eating Disorders Screening Tool helps people ages 13 and up determine when to seek professional guidance. And, their website contains resources for recovery such as their Helpline, and access to an extensive list of treatment providers across the US. Furthermore, they host events such as NEDAWalk and NEDAwareness Week, which bring awareness and funding to the fight against eating disorders.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the National Eating Disorders Association has helped millions of people suffering from eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, to find the help and support they need. For example, in 2019 alone, their NEDAwareness Week campaign reached over 303.4 million people via social media, and more than 145,000 people completed their Eating Disorders Screening Tool. In the same year, they merged with the National Association for Men with Eating Disorders, cementing their commitment to reach underrepresented populations within the eating disorder community.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Eating Disorders Association via their website. You can also get involved by participating in a NEDAWalk event in your community or by becoming a group support facilitator for The Body Project.

National Alliance for Eating Disorders: Recovery and Education

The National Alliance for Eating Disorders was founded in 2000 by Johanna Kandel as a way to give back after she recovered from an eating disorder. Today, they are a leading national nonprofit organization providing support for all eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the National Alliance for Eating Disorders a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Walking you through recovery.

National Alliance for Eating Disorders

What they do: The National Alliance for Eating Disorders provides support to people suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, through education, referrals, and advocacy. For example, they facilitate the initial phase of recovery through their referral services, including their national database of providers, which connects people with eating disorders to treatment options at all levels of care. Furthermore, they host free, weekly support groups for people with eating disorders; these therapist-led sessions provide participants with a community of understanding and support. Additionally, they spread awareness of eating disorders through community outreach projects and education.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the National Alliance for Eating Disorders has impacted the lives of thousands of people affected by anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. For example, in 2021 alone, their referral services helped 163,398 people start their journey toward recovery. In the same year, 16,953 people participated in their support groups, and 29,415 people attended their educational events.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Alliance for Eating Disorders via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering or interning with the organization, or by attending an event.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: Peer Support for Healing

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders was founded in 1976 by Vivian Meehan as a support group after she found a lack of support during her daughter’s eating disorder battle. Today, they provide free peer support services to anyone struggling with anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders.

Their impact and transparency ratings: GuideStar gives the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders a Silver Seal of Transparency. 

Eating disorder recovery is possible. ANAD is here to help.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders

What they do: The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders combats anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders through peer support services. Their network of volunteers is composed of eating disorder survivors who provide various levels of support to those still suffering. For instance, their Eating Disorder Helpline provides users with instant access to basic support, while their Recovery Mentor program pairs patients and volunteers one-on-one to provide more in-depth, long-term support. Additionally, their virtual peer support groups connect people with eating disorders with other sufferers to create a community of guidance and understanding. Furthermore, they disseminate educational materials, such as their Support at Every Stage guide, to loved ones of those struggling with an eating disorder.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders has remained committed to providing peer support to people with eating disorders by adapting to meet the needs of diverse communities. For example, their peer support group program includes several special interest groups, including LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and teens and young adults. Furthermore, in 2021, they proposed a set of guidelines to promote inclusive care in treatment centers across the US.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders via their website. You can also get involved by becoming a Helpline volunteer, Recovery Mentor, or a Peer Support Group Leader.

Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment for Eating Disorders (FEAST): Families Helping Families

Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment for Eating Disorders, or FEAST, was founded in 2007 by a group of caregivers of those suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, to support parents and caregivers of eating disorder patients. Today, the charity is a global support and education community helping parents to understand their child’s eating disorder.

Their impact and transparency ratings: GuideStar gives FEAST a Gold Seal of Transparency. 

We are here because we’ve been there.

FEAST

What they do: FEAST’s programs and services provide support, information, skills, and tools to families of eating disorders patients, including those with anorexia nervosa, as they fight the disease. For example, their FEAST 30 Days program is designed to educate and empower caregivers through one virtual lesson a day for 30 days. In addition, their Around the Dinner Table Forum provides parents with peer support through a moderated online discussion board. Furthermore, they supply parents with printable quick reference pamphlets on topics related to eating disorders, such as nutrition and neurobiology, through their FEAST Family Guides Series.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, FEAST has supported over 10,000 families across 70 countries to help their loved ones navigate eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa. For example, in 2021, the Association reached over 5,000 users. In the same year, over 3,800 people registered for their FEAST 30 Days program, and over 2,800 people joined the Around the Dinner Table Forum and Facebook Community. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to FEAST via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering for a fundraising committee or as a technical specialist.

Project HEAL: Ensuring Treatment Equity

Project HEAL was founded in 2008 by Liana Rosenman and Kristina Saffran, who met while receiving treatment for anorexia nervosa as teenagers. They set up the organization to provide other sufferers with the resources they need to heal. Today, they are committed to providing access to quality eating disorder treatment for members of marginalized populations.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Project HEAL a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

We open doors to healing for those who the system fails.

Project HEAL

What they do: Project HEAL helps people who might typically struggle to receive care to gain access to quality treatment for eating disorders, specifically members of the LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and other marginalized communities. For example, their Clinical Assessment Program provides free, impartial, and culturally competent screenings to anyone in the US who believes they might be suffering from an eating disorder. Furthermore, their Treatment Placement Program provides beneficiaries with extended treatment within their HEALers Circle network of providers at little to no cost. And, they provide cash assistance when needed, and also offer Insurance Navigation.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Project HEAL has improved treatment equity for thousands of people across the US seeking access to treatment for eating disorders. For example, in 2021, they provided $2,031,236 in free treatment services to underserved communities. Furthermore, in 2020, they formalized a partnership with the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders to merge their peer-support services, allowing them to help even more people suffering from eating disorders.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Project HEAL via their website. You can also get involved by becoming a Project HEAL Ambassador, or by volunteering.

SeekHer Foundation: Bridging the Gender Gap of Mental Health

The SeekHer Foundation was founded in 2021 by Monica Mo. After suffering a mental breakdown, Mo recognized the need for an organization that focused on mental health issues unique to women. Today, the foundation supports women’s mental health through advocacy and empowerment, including those with anorexia nervosa. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The SeekHer Foundation is a charitable project supported by the Social Good Fund, which receives a 94% rating for Finance and Accountability from Charity Navigator. The fund also holds the GuideStar Silver Seal for Transparency.

“When we power more women, we power more good.”

The SeekHer Foundation

What they do: The SeekHer Foundation pinpoints challenges that impact women’s mental health and identifies actionable solutions through advocacy campaigns, research, and funding support. They combat eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, by promoting body positivity through various campaigns and partnerships. For example, they fundraise to support body image programs in schools through their #MyBodyCan fundraisers, in partnership with Athleta and WellSeek. In addition, their SeekHer Scholars program provides body-inclusive mentorships and trainings for the next generation of mental health professionals.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the SeekHer Foundation has provided mental health resources and self-care tools to over 3,600 students and connected over 212,000 women with wellness resources, including those with anorexia nervosa. For example, in 2021, they launched SeekHer Shift, a survey initiative that engaged over 1,100 women across the US. It identified the most pressing challenges to women’s mental health to guide future support efforts.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the SeekHer Foundation via their website. You can also host a school fundraiser, start a giveback initiative, or apply to be a SeekHer Scholar.

National Alliance on Mental Illness: Raising Awareness and Providing Resources

The National Alliance on Mental Illness was founded in 1979 by a small group of families to provide solidarity and support to people suffering from mental illness. Today, the organization works to increase awareness and provide support to those in need in communities across the US, including those suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the National Alliance on Mental Illness a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum rating for transparency. 

“Changing the mental health conversation, together.” 

National Alliance on Mental Illness

What they do: The National Alliance on Mental Illness improves the lives of those with eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, and other mental health disorders through advocacy, education, support, and public awareness. For example, their education program features classes for people with mental illness as well as stakeholders such as family members, significant others, and providers. They also provide peer support to those seeking guidance and resources via their 24-hour HelpLine. In addition, they provide comprehensive information about eating disorders on their website, including treatment options, and how to cope if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms.

What they’ve achieved: Today, the National Alliance on Mental Illness helps people struggling with their mental health, including anorexia nervosa, through their network of over 600 affiliates and 49 state organizations across the US. For example, in 2021, they distributed $3.5 million in grants to advance the work of their network and to support more people. In the same year, their annual fundraiser, NAMIWalks Your Way raised $13.1 million across 122 events with over 40,000 participants nationwide. In addition, the charity’s advocacy efforts were integral to the launch of the 988 crisis number, a helpline for those suffering from anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and suicidal thoughts. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Alliance on Mental Illness via their website. You can also contribute by registering to participate in NamiWalks Your Way or by volunteering to work on the HelpLine.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: Funding Mental Health Innovation

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation was founded in 1987 by a small group of individuals to increase the pace of research to find causes, treatments, and cures for mental illness, including anorexia nervosa. Today, they are the top non-governmental funder of mental health research grants in the US.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Funding cutting-edge research to find cures for mental illness.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

What they do: The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation improves the lives of people with anorexia nervosa and other mental illnesses by funding the most innovative ideas in neuroscience. They do this by awarding grants to scientists researching new ways to understand, prevent, and treat eating disorders and other mental illnesses. For example, one of their 2017 grant recipients led the largest genetic study of anorexia nervosa to date, identifying genetic risk factors for the disease.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has awarded more than $430 million to fund more than 6,200 grants in mental health research, with $3.7 million going toward research specifically for anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. Their funding has directly contributed to some of the biggest breakthroughs in the mental health community, including studies investigating eating disorder treatment and brain circuits, non-invasive brain stimulation, and computer-guided early diagnosis of mental illness.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation via their website. You can also get involved by sponsoring an event or creating your own fundraiser.

Mental Health America: Action Before Crisis

Mental Health America was founded in 1909 by Clifford W. Beers. After experiencing years of abuse in mental institutions, Beers became committed to reforming mental health care. Today, Mental Health America is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of the mentally ill and promoting mental health for all, including those with anorexia nervosa.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Mental Health America a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Crisis is not a starting point.”

Mental Health America

What they do: Mental Health America promotes mental health and the prevention of mental illnesses, including anorexia nervosa, through advocacy, education, research, and integrative services. For example, through education and outreach, they help people of all ages better understand prevention, early identification, and intervention of mental illnesses such as eating disorders. Moreover, their network of over 200 affiliates work with state and local policymakers to develop policies that promote mental health, including Medicaid expansion. In addition, they offer peer-to-peer support through their Peer Partners Program and provide resources on becoming a Peer Support Specialist. They also provide clinically validated screens for mental illness that commonly occur with eating disorders via their MHA Screening program.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Mental Health America has educated millions of people about mental illness and reduced barriers to treatment and services. For example, through their MHA Screening program, they have screened 7,460,734 individuals. Furthermore, in 2020 alone, their public education efforts reached 19,045,019 people and they directly impacted 208,000 people suffering from mental health issues through their support services, including eating disorders. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Mental Health America via their website. You can also get involved by joining their advocacy movement or by creating your own fundraiser.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that combat anorexia nervosa. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to combating anorexia nervosa – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Alycia O'Dell

Alycia loves to research and write about organizations that invest in the health and welfare of marginalized communities. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and works with children with autism. Outside of work, she is a new mom to twins and loves helping them learn and explore.

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