Become a Support Group Leader
ANAD’s oldest support service are our eating disorder, self-help support groups. Self-help group support can help tremendously when someone is suffering with an eating disorder, because it allows them to share what they are feeling and thinking is a safe, non-threatening environment where they will not be judged for having an eating disorder.
Are You Ready to Lead a Support Group?
You, our ANAD Support Group Leaders, are so valuable to us! You are the heart of who we are and what we do. ANAD support group leaders donate their time and expertise in helping people with eating disorders and their loved ones try to find recovery for themselves.
It is not required that Support Group Leaders are clinicians nor have a background in psychology. Please review the sections below to determine if you are ready to lead an ANAD support group or if you’d rather join an already existing ANAD support group.
ANAD Support Group leaders need to be strong and healthy. You will come across many triggers as a leader. We want to make sure that you are in a great place in your own recovery to be around people who are still struggling. We ask that you have been eating disorder behavior free for two years OR that you have a co-leader to run the group with you.
ANAD wants to give you this tool to personally and privately check in with your own recovery, to make sure that you are in a good place to be an ANAD support group leader at this time. This is a list of statements that might indicate that a person might be struggling with food, weight and body image issues. If you go through this, it will be a good way for you to check on your own recovery, and reflect on whether you are in just the right place to be an amazing ANAD Support Group Leader!
Please privately look over these items. If you notice that you are mostly free of the Eating and Body Image issues listed below, this will be a great time to lead an ANAD support group.
- I spend a large part of my day thinking about food, weight and body image concerns.
- I sometimes feel I can’t stop eating.
- I get very anxious about eating.
- I obsess about my body image.
- I avoid high carb, high sugar or high calorie foods.
- I feel extremely conflicted about eating.
- I dislike my body.
- I feel that food controls my life.
- After I eat, I wish I could do something to get rid of what I ate.
- I have a lot of worries about my weight and what I eat.
- I try to avoid eating.
- I am very unhappy.
- I have a lot of sadness and worries on my mind.
- I wish I was not here.
- I do not have the support that I need.
As a Support Group Leader, you will be responsible for:
- Securing a free, safe and easily accessible location for members to meet on a regular basis
- Committing to arriving on time to every group meeting, and if you are unable to attend, communicating this to ANAD and to your support group and providing a substitute leader if possible
- Leading your group properly by following ANAD guidelines for how to lead a safe and supportive group
ANAD works with potential support group leaders to secure space in their area, promote their group, and anything else they need in order to get started. Here are some of the ways we support our volunteers as they prepare to set up their own groups, and after they are established:
- ANAD offers convenient, online training that provides support groups leaders with the tools they need to facilitate large groups, prepare discussion topics, and teach group members to problem solve together.
- Regular newsletters that provide additional, updated training information, articles written by current Support Group Leaders, tips to help make your support group successful and a good resource for all of its members, and advice on how to deal with any challenging situations that may arise in your group.
- A dedicated email address where Support Group Leaders can contact ANAD staff with any questions or any requests for support for them in order to run their group successfuly.