DES MOINES, Iowa — Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa is developing a text-based application that would connect Iowans affected by an eating disorder with critical resources and information.

Patients, caregivers, and providers would be able to text keywords to the EDCI’s dedicated line to receive information about treatment, resources, and more.

Francesca Johnson, EDCI board member, explained that a caregiver would be able to text ‘meal support’ to the line and would receive information about how to best help a person who’s recovering from an eating disorder in a way that won’t trigger them.

An eating disorder is a type of mental health disorder, and just like patients who struggled with depression or anxiety during the pandemic, those with eating disorders most likely struggled during the pandemic too, Johnson said.

“The pandemic made it a lot easier to hide, which is something that a lot of patients in recovery do to avoid the stigmas.” Johnson said.

Once the text-based application is operational, it would provide patients with a resource in the palm of their hands. Sara Schwatken, EDCI president, said the application fills a significant need in Iowa.

“The number one piece of feedback that we receive from our community is that there isn’t enough awareness regarding eating disorder,” Schwatken said. “A text-based application would be a new opportunity to quickly, efficiently, and effectively get up-to-date resources.”

The EDCI and the Thrivent Member Network are hosting a matching campaign to help fund the development and maintenance of the text-line. The Iowa/Southern Minnesota Region will provide a 1 dollar match for every 1 dollar donated until October 1.