Archive for September 30, 2012

Parity is Personal Advocacy Opportunity

There is currently a push to get our members of Congress to sign-on to a letter asking the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury to issues the final rule so the Mental Health Parity Law can be fully implemented. Please help by asking your member to sign-on to the letter. It is super easy to do! All you have to do is follow the directions below and you will be taken to the site that will ask you for your 9 digit zip code. Then you will fill in a few blanks and you are done. It took me about 4 minutes to do!!
For those of you who are on Facebook or other social media please post this message.
Kitty Westin, MA
Advocacy Director
Dear Advocate:
As we approach the fourth anniversary of the enactment of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) on October 3, 2008, we are asking for your help to make the purpose of the federal parity law a reality.
Although MHPAEA was enacted nearly four years ago, a final rule implementing the law has not yet been issued. Without a final rule from the Administration, many individuals seeking care for mental health and addictive disorders have been unable to access the health care services they need.
Please ask your Member of Congress to sign the letter to the Administration asking them to issue a final parity rule and provide an update on progress made thus far in implementing the law. Click here to act now! For more information about parity, please visit
Members of Congress should contact Melissa Gierach with Rep. Sullivan (R-OK) or Anne Sokolov with Rep. Ryan (D-OH) to sign on to the letter.
Thank you for your help to make parity a reality!
The Emily Program Foundation

Media Monday – Responses to Media and Marketing

Submitted by an EPF Volunteer
When it comes to cultural and societal values, media and marketing have strong influence.  We’ve all come across advertisements, whether on television, on the Internet, in magazines, or on billboards that covey powerful messages in few words.  After paging through an issue of Elle magazine, I came across one startling ad for a clothing line that omitted words and relied solely on a model’s presence in the clothes. While it appeared that the ad wanted to convey to an audience between 18-24 years of age a sense of self-assurance and confidence (supported by the body language used by the model), I saw everything but that.  The ad was not striking because of the clothing or because of some pronounced sense of strength, but because the model looked sickly skinny, with a paleness that seemed to wash her into the background of the ad. There was no healthy glow to her skin; her hair was dull and disheveled.  There was no smile sweeping across her face and her eyes were dull and empty, suggesting that she was tired and weak.  The clothing she wore might have been appealing if she appeared healthier, full of energy, but in this ad, they contributed to a sense of lifelessness. To a person with greater self-esteem, this ad would not sell.  It is possible, though uncertain, that for a person with lower self-esteem, this model and what she wore might convey some message of confidence or desirability. 
I think the thinness of the model remains a cultural ideal; however, our culture also values happiness and vitality. The latter are not represented in this advertisement. This particular ad is contradictory as it shows a very thin model wearing name brand clothing (mirroring some of our cultural values) who also appears sickly and almost lifeless (counter our cultural values), sending a mixed message. I do believe that this ad is socially irresponsible because it not only gives acceptance to such thinness, it almost glamorizes it as it is modeled in the ad of a fashion magazine. Because of this ad, I think advertisements in media that include sickly thin models should be excluded altogether.  We live in a society that judges us by our body size, promoting thinness even at the cost of our health and vitality.  I find it ironic that ads, whose purpose is to seduce their audience into buying products, often feature severely thin models without any kind of facial expression or evidence of a vibrant spirit or life within them. How do these ads still sell? What’s so appealing? How are these still featured in the media? Maybe as a whole, we’ve lost sight of what’s most important: our well being.  If we, as a whole, invested as much time and effort into nurturing our mental, physical, and spiritual health as we invest in constant self-evaluation against unattainable, unreasonable, and unhealthy standards, would these ads still serve a purpose?  Would they still exist?

Media Monday – An Open Letter to Pinterest

Pinterest –
On behalf of the over 10 million people who suffer from eating disorders in the United States, thank you for taking a stand against hurtful and detrimental, pro-anorexia or bulimia content on your website.
As non-profit organization, The Emily Program Foundation works to eliminate eating disorders through advocacy and education. We believe whole heartily that together we can make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities that are affected by this real and life-threatening disease.
We commend you on not only removing pro-eating disorder content from your website, but for your decision to offer a serious and informational response to thinspiration searches on Pinterest. Offering resources for treatment on a landing page like this may seem like an insignificant decision, but doing so can have a huge impact in the life of someone struggling with an eating disorder. We appreciate you for offering support in this way and reminding your users that eating disorders really are serious illnesses that affect real people, everyday.
Thank you for your advocacy and bravery in publicly taking a position on this issue.
The Emily Program Foundation

Media Monday Action Alert from TEPF’s Advocacy Group

Disney and Barneys NY team up to give beloved characters a makeover just in time for the holidays.

The new Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck

Entertainment conglomerate, Disney Corporation, and high end fashion store Barneys NY recently launched an advertisement campaign called “Electric Holiday”.  The result is an extremely disturbing overhaul of beloved Disney Characters, Minnie, Daisy and Goofy, into anorexic looking supermodels. Minnie, Daisy and Goofy are creepily thin in the advertisements and the images are potentially damaging.  These makeovers send the wrong message and will contribute to the already growing concerns about size and shape, and lead to poor self-esteem and body image issues.  To view the campaign click here:

Please join The Emily Program Foundation Advocacy Group and other advocacy organizations across the US to inform Disney that it this campaign is not acceptable.  Write, send an email, call, blog, post on Twitter, Facebook – just do something – to let Disney know of your concern about the message this sends to people who love the Disney Characters; including the cartoon bodies that have been acceptable for generations.  Explain how it makes you feel when you see the Disney characters as skinny, anorexic looking, models.
Disney Contact information:
Call Epcot Center: 407-824-2222 and register a complaint specifically about the “Electric Holiday” ad campaign.
Disney Corporation headquarters:
                Attention: Kristen Nolt Wingard
                Senior V.P. of Public Relations
                1375 Buena Vista Drive
                Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Your voice matters – you can make a difference!!
Barney’s New York and Disney team up to create anorexic looking Disney Characters!
Contact The Emily Program Foundation at with questions.