Project Maria

Formed in 2016 in response to the death of Maria Dorn, a passionate young woman from Rock County, WI, who struggled with anorexia nervosa.

Maria was the kind of person you’d want as a student, daughter, granddaughter, niece, or friend. Although Maria’s death was the motivating force behind the creation of Project Maria, our organization’s mission reaches far beyond one person and those who knew her. Our hope is to inspire our community to embrace a world in which we reach for help when we need it, offer a hand when we perceive need, and end the silence so frequently faced by those battling eating disorders.

Eating Disorders and the Holidays

This year, Project Maria is creating a series of six videos that describe why the holidays can be difficult for those who struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating, and their families and friends. They contain suggestions on some helpful coping techniques and strategies.

Video #1: Why the holidays might be extra challenging for those with eatind disorders.

If you or someone you love struggles with an eating disorder or disordered eating, the holidays can cause extra anxieties! Let’s explore why!

Video #2: How to overcome the challenges of holiday celebrations.

In our first video, we talked about WHY the holidays might be a struggle, but today we want to offer suggestions for how to overcome these obstacles!

Video #3: How to celebrate a holiday without focusing on food

In our previous video, one of our points mentioned focusing on parts of a celebration that make you feel special that don’t have anything to do with food! In this video, we’re going to offer some more alternatives.

Video #4: Restaurants & Eating Disorders.

We’ve been talking about how to find ways to enjoy a holiday celebration without the anxiety that food may cause someone with an eating disorder. Of course, avoiding triggers is not always possible. In this episode, we’re offering ideas for how to prepare to go to a restaurant AND what restaurants might do to be more friendly for those who struggle with an eating disorder.

Video #5: Telling your family or friends about your eating disorder.

We know that folks are more likely to spend time with their friends and family during holiday celebrations, and we want to empower you to share your eating disorder journey with them.

Video #6: Holiday Affirmations.

To end our series on coping with holiday celebrations with an eating disorder, we would like to offer you 10 positive affirmations!

Announcements:

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is now available!

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides care and support to people experiencing stressful situations—whether that is thoughts of suicide, a mental health concern, or a substance use issue. It is a free and confidential service that is available 24/7.

People of all ages who need help for themselves or a loved one can access the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by:

  • Calling 988 (multiple languages).
  • Sending a text message to 988 (English only).
  • Using the chat feature at 988lifeline.org (English only).

Wisconsinites who use the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline will connect with an in-state service known as the Wisconsin Lifeline. The person contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is connected with a trained counselor who takes note of the person’s needs, understands how the person’s problem is affecting them, provides support, and, if needed, gets the person additional help.

Please share this with friends and family – and add it to your phone’s emergency Contact numbers, so it’s more easily accessed when needed.

With so much incorrect information about eating disorders, education is a key component of how we serve our community. Our organization strives to share accurate information in schools, libraries, healthcare settings, and other public forums to ensure that those needing help are more understood and receive superior care. Our website features links to learn more about eating disorders.

Another guiding principle for Project Maria is support. Too often, those impacted by eating disorders feel disconnected from those without mental health experience. In an effort to build connection, we run a support group for those seeking recovery and another for those supporting them, send cards to patients in area treatment facilities, and share encouraging articles to our Face book page. We provide opportunities to unite at local events. Our website offers resources for improving coping skills and lists treatment providers who implement skilled eating disorder services.

Finally, we advocate for better health care for those with eating disorders and other mental illnesses by contacting legislators, publicizing information about advocacy opportunities, and participating in awareness events like walks and wellness.

Project Maria Bracelets

July 2024

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