Communities of HEALing

When Project HEAL asked our community members what made the biggest difference in their recovery journey, the answer was clear: knowing someone who has walked the same path and can demonstrate that recovery is possible. In response, we built Communities of HEALing.

Communities of HEALing mobilizes recovered volunteers to support those struggling for recovery—through weekly support groups and 1:1 mentorship sessions. The program is free, and 1:1 mentorship is available online, ensuring access for all.

COH volunteers participate in a rigorous vetting process to ensure solid recovery, a comprehensive training process to build their skills, and close supervision to ensure they have the support they need to support others. We worked closely with leading clinician Carolyn Costin to develop mentor training based in part on her 8 Keys to Recovery philosophy.

Peer support has proven successful in recovery from other mental illnesses, but Communities of HEALing is the first program of its kind for eating disorders. We are currently working with Columbia Center for Eating Disorders to conduct the first randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of peer support for eating disorders, and look forward to sharing those results in 2020.  Communities of HEALing was selected by the Scattergood Foundation for their 2018 Innovation in Behavioral Health Award.