Finland’s message: Communication and openness vital to thrive in Eating Disorder field

Finland’s message: Communication and openness vital to thrive in Eating Disorder field


By Rasmus Isomaa, Finland

Finland is undergoing a huge social welfare and health care reform. It is one of the biggest ever administrative and operational changes in Finland. It will impact the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people and affects the services of every citizen in the country. Somewhere in this package lies eating disorder services.

Specialized eating disorder services are quite new in Finland and the regional variation in service provision is large. One of the biggest challenges from the viewpoint of an eating disorder professional is to advocate sustainable development of the eating disorder field in a climate where “budget cuts” is one of the most frequently used terms. However, as with all other mental health problems, savings are seldom achieved by cutting services. So what do we need to actually save money, and more important the quality of life of sufferers.

Conference to tackle the misinformation and misconceptions

Eating disorders are plagued with misinformation and misconceptions. There are myths, prejudices, and biased media coverage which influence the picture of eating disorders. An improved understanding is the key to sustainable development of the eating disorder field.

To meet this challenge, the Finnish Eating Disorder Society (FEDS) arranges a conference in collaboration with the Nordic Eating Disorder Society (NEDS) in September 2016. The theme of the conference is “Information and misinformation”. The theme will be discussed through topics like:
What does evidence-based treatment mean for reality-based practice?
What it’s really like to recover from an eating disorder
The Science Behind the 9 Truths about eating disorders
Who do we think they are? – Confronting myths in the treatment of eating disorders
Eating disorders and exercise – from abuse to health
It is the first time the Nordic conference is arranged in Finland and we hope that the conference will increase visibility of eating disorders among politicians, health care professionals, and the general public.

I was recently asked to reflect on the coming challenges of the eating disorder field. In my opinion on of the biggest challenges is communication and openness. For the eating disorder field to thrive we need to sustain our status as a special field in psychiatry. Not by isolating ourselves, but via openness and communication and by being active instead of reactive.

About Rasmus Isomaa
Rasmus is chair of the Finnish Eating Disorder Society (

Join Rasmus and Finland in supporting World Eating Disorders Action Day. Be sure to follow along on Twitter @WorldEDDay and hashtag #WeDoAct, #WorldEDActionDay, @WorldEatingDisordersAction on Instagram and World Eating Disorders Action Day on Facebook.