MentorCONNECT aims to help those who are battling eating disorders connect with a mentor who has overcome an eating disorder and can provide support and guidance throughout the recovery process by sharing personal experiences and tools of recovery. A mentor is defined as a trusted guide who is willing and able to share their knowledge and experience in a particular area, while a mentee is defined as a person who wishes to receive guidance and instruction. MentorConnect's founder, Shannon Cutts, survived a 15-year battle with anorexia, bulimia, depression, and anxiety. After recovering, she founded MentorCONNECT, a nonprofit organization, to offer others the gift of hope she received from her own mentors.
In the United States, nearly 10 million women and 1 million men have some type of eating disorder. Almost 1% of women and .3% of men will experience anorexia in their lifetime, while 1.5% of women and .5% of men will experience bulimia. 3.5% of women and 2% of men will binge eat. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness: 4% of those with anorexia, 3.9% of those with bulimia, and 5.2% of those with binge eating disorder will die from health complications. Many of individuals who live with an eating disorder (nine out of 10) never get treatment, and some of those who do get treatment do not complete it successfully. However, a study conducted on the MentorCONNECT program showed that mentees matched with a mentor were more likely to comply with their treatment programs and that they tended to have a higher quality of life level than individuals who had not been matched with a mentor: They had closer relationships with family and friends, better mental and physical well-being, and a more positive outlook. Frequent communication with mentors and a higher level of social support were both shown to help further recovery. The mentors also reported that the program further strengthened their own recovery skills.
MentorCONNECT is the first global eating disorders mentoring community. MentorCONNECT's presence within the eating disorders field offers recovered and recovering individuals a non-medical/non-clinical, caring, peer-based community where they can connect, find support between treatment sessions, give back, and contribute to recovery research. Research on eating disorders is often underfunded, and lack of insurance coverage for treatment can be a potential barrier to treatment. MentorCONNECT aims to support clinical treatment with a no-cost program that has been shown to be effective at aiding in the recovery process. Females and males who are 14 or older and are actively engaged in recovery from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and eating disorders not otherwise specified are encouraged to join. Members can match with a mentor for individual support, participate in group mentoring activities, join in weekly support group meetings, receive daily supportive emails, enjoy monthly teleconferences, create a personal recovery blog, and more. MentorCONNECT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
- Eating Disorder Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm.
- Ekern, J. (2014, April 21). Eating Disorder Statistics & Research. Retrieved from http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/statistics-studies.