Archive for February 28, 2013

Mental Health Rally Set for March 12

Come to the State Capitol on March 12 at 10am and join The Emily Program Foundation Advocacy Director, Kitty Westin, along with follow advocates to show your support for increasing mental health funding, programs and services across Minnesota. 

Contact Kitty at or 651-379-6117.

This year’s Mental Health Rally and Day at the Capitol is set for Tuesday, March 12. About 700 people packed the Capitol last year and organizers are hoping for an even bigger turn out this year. It is vitally important for advocates to attend and make their voices heard! Legislators need to know that mental health is an issue that Minnesotans are passionate about as they put together the state’s next budget in the face of a billion dollar deficit. See MHLN Legislative Report. Also see NAMI’s 2013 Legislative Goals, here.


An issues briefing will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church (105 W. University Ave.) followed by a Rally at Noon in the Capitol Rotunda. Advocates are encouraged to make appointments to visit their legislators at the Capitol that afternoon.


The event is sponsored by the Minnesota Mental Health Legislative Network (MHLN), a coalition of more than 20 statewide mental health organizations concerned about the quality and availability of mental health services including The Emily Program Foundation. NAMI Minnesota and the Mental Health Association of Minnesota are co-chairs of the network.


Buses Available to the Capitol
The Network has chartered five buses, each beginning in different locations across Minnesota, to make it easier for people to attend. All buses are expected to arrive at Christ Lutheran Church by 9:45 a.m. and will depart St. Paul around 3:00 p.m. There is no charge to ride the buses (unless otherwise noted) but registration is required since space is limited. For information or to reserve a seat, please contact Matt Burdick at or 651-645-2948 x107 (unless otherwise noted).

Media Monday: Victoria Secret

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer


Media plays an important role in influencing individual perceptions, opinions and thoughts especially with respect to body image. A TV commercial that I thought would significantly impact young or adult teenage girls is the Victoria Secret’s Angel fantasies collections advertisement. The link to the commercial is as follows: 

The product is Victoria Secret’s lingerie and it is appealing as it makes one want to buy the product. The commercial includes voluptuous looking Victoria Secret Angels wearing colorful and attractive lingerie, however this may impact and influence body perception of young teenage girls and adult women. As the product is called Angel fantasies, it may trigger individuals to fantasize about their body image and they may desire to look like them.  Such commercials that include images of celebrities or models with chiseled and slim bodies may result in females to think and perceive skinnier to be healthy.
Media through TV, Internet and magazines creates ideal body images and role models that individuals may try to mimic or would aspire to be like. It is important that the media world needs to be sensitive towards this issue and associate healthy looking models/celebrities to promote and market their respective products.




Media Monday: The True Value of Health

Submitted by TEPF VolunteerWhen it comes to living a healthy life, there are several aspects to take into consideration. For years now, I have been admiring Jillian Michaels because she is the one that has made me realize this. Much of her work exemplifies her passion for health.

She encourages individuals to get healthy physically, as well as mentally and emotionally. Jillian tells us that weight is not everything, but health is. While I was looking for some more inspiration from her, I found her show Losing It With Jillian. I was extremely excited since I had never heard of this before. It was an old episode, but this show that really struck me and made me so happy that Jillian Michaels is one of my heroes.

This episode that I am talking about deals with a Native American family with heavy ties to their culture. This particular family that Jillian was going to be spending her time with for a week was very close and family oriented. But, they were dangerously unhealthy due to the amount of food that was eaten over family bonding. They felt that they were connecting through food. Jillian stepped in and had the family participate in physical activities in which they could spend time together . She also had them change a few things in their diet to educate the family on how to lead a healthy life for the two children. One of these kids was a fifteen year old boy that was suffering from health issues in relation to the food he was being fed. The family was concerned once they found this out and Jillian was never pushy with him. The way she treated him was with such care and compassion. She saw a strong, young man that just needed a little help from his family to become as healthy as possible. Not only did this family learn that they were able to stick to their culture, but they were also able to apply what they have learned to stay healthy. All of their health issues began to disappear. The amazing thing about this story was that not only did this Native American family get healthy, the whole Native American community around them followed in their footsteps. Now, future generations will be more educated about what health is.
As inspiring as this is, it is also important to understand that this proves that health is not all about weight, but about the emotional enjoyment in life and the way you treat your body. The younger generations do need to learn this from their parents, and I feel as though Jillian did an amazing job proving this to an entire community that needed her motivation.

Media Monday: Skinny Girl Cocktails

Submitted by TEPF Volunteer
It is understandable that a grown, adult woman may reach for a drink at the end of a hard day or in celebration of some monumental event.  Drinking is meant to be a social event and in moderation is typically not detrimental to one’s health.  However, Skinny Girl cocktails have come up with a diet drink with a logo of a woman who nears the unrealistic proportions of Barbie and a slogan of “Drink like a lady.”  I first noticed the ad after paying more attention to the ads in Cosmopolitan (the free online publication) on August 28th.  I also have seen the Skinny Girl cocktails in the liquor stores.   The target audience is obviously for women of age, particularly women who may be self conscious of their body shape or trying to lose or maintain weight, which is a large percentage of woman in today’s society.  I followed the ad to the companies’ Facebook page to find a depiction of a woman wearing pearls and perfectly coifed hair, pulled together and drinking like a lady.  The site also provides a guide of how to act like a lady which gives advice such as sensible shoes being five inch stilettos. The product does seem appealing because it gives off the idea that if you drink the cocktail you will be fun, sexy, and, well, a lady.


However, in my humble opinion, diet foods have no room in one’s pantry.  All foods can fit into a diet with moderation and balance.  The fact that this drink is low-calorie also brings up the suggestion that drinking more is just fine because of the fewer calories per drink which may actually lead some to drink more than they otherwise would.  The term ‘skinny’ alone brings up images of super thin and unhealthy people.  But this company uses it as if ‘skinny’ is the ideal and the only way women can be fun, sexy and ladies, which is not true.  Women come in every shape and size, and I know it may be cliché, but true beauty comes from within. Their image of a woman with unrealistic curves may set an unrealistic ideal for women.  I would like to see this company first of all remove the word skinny girl and perhaps use real girls instead.  Second, I would like to see the image of the woman with the stick thin legs and large chest removed and replaced by perhaps a fuller figured woman or even better, no image at all in which can potentially try to mirror. By all means women deserve to have a cocktail but not one telling them they have to be skinny to be a lady.

Art and Eating Disorders: Building Community Awareness 2013

The Emily Program Foundation is currently presenting its Third Annual Art and Eating Disorders exhibition at The Art Institute International Minnesota Art Gallery. The pieces of art demonstrate how eating disorders are viewed through the eyes of those who are struggling or recovering from an eating disorder. Art is a form of expression which can be interpreted in many ways. Some of these pieces demonstrate hope, loneliness, struggling, happiness, and confusion.

Each one of these art pieces are unique and reveal different messages to the audience. Just by looking at some of these pieces one can see and feel what the artist has experienced or what they are experiencing while struggling with an eating disorder.
Each one of these pieces has demonstrated the artist’s emotion using different types of material. For example, some artists used masks to demonstrate what their vision of an eating disorder is or what is going through their minds. Others used drawings, paintings, and even photography. The colors used in these pieces also play an important role in artist’s message. Some pieces used dark colors to demonstrate the loneliness, confusion, and depression that they were experiencing. While other pieces used lighter colors to show their appreciation of their bodies, the different things they can do and different activities they can engage themselves into. In one particular piece, the artist used a tree with multiple branches to demonstrate the progress from suffering with an eating disorder, but there is hope and growth shown by using blooming flowers. Another artist used something that we perceive has happiness, a rainbow, into a battle of emotions and a loss of identity.
Art is also a form of communication. The artists are communicating with the audience and describing to us their struggles and battles they experience on a daily basis.
This exhibition is an amazing way to learn about individual’s personal experience when struggling with an eating disorder.
Check the show out at:
The Art Institutes International Minnesota Art Gallery
15 South 9th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Building Hours: Mon-Fri 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM; Sat and Sun 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 21, 2013 from 5pm -7pm.
The artwork will be available for viewing on February 9th to March 14th, 2013.