BAKERSFIELD, CA. — This week is Eating Disorder Awareness week and the National Eating Disorder Association is using the theme 'come as you are' for 2020.
“Eating disorders can come in all shapes and sizes and people can be all over the spectrum," said Lauren Smolar, Director of programs for NEDA. "People can have binge eating disorders and also restrict. All off those people deserve and need professional help from people who specialize in eating disorders."
When searching for a treatment provider on the NEDA website, no local therapist were found. The nearest eating disorder specialist is in Simi Valley. On the Psychology Today directory, only one local therapist came up as an eating disorder specialist.
“When I was living and practicing there I noticed that there weren't any eating disorder professionals at all that had been trained in providing treatment for those suffering with eating disorders," said Samantha Bothwell, local eating disorder specialist.
Bothwell was born and raised in Bakersfield and has since moved her practice to Long Beach, but she continues to over telehealth services in the area.
“I think there;s an overall lack of resources and inadequate care across the board so its unfortunately not uncommon to be in that situation," said Smolar.
Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery services says they are still working on growing their resources for eating disorders locally.
The National Eating Disorder Association has a self screening tool on their website for ages 13 and up.
If you or someone you know is going through an eating disorder, you can call the NEDA helpline to 800.931.2237.