Missouri law will in 2017 require that insurance companies cover specific mental health treatments associated with eating disorders. The new legislation will put Missouri ahead of other states in fighting such diseases.
Now advocates like Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund, hope people will take advantage of it, and that can mean overcoming stigma.
“Stigma is one of the biggest non-tangible barriers to treatment,” says Haglund.
Other times, Haglund says, it can take a friend or family member recognizing an eating disorder and confronting the sufferer.
“I think it’s hard and there’s a lot of denial and frustration,” says Haglund. The people around that person need to have courage in confronting them and maybe they need to have conversations with that person multiple times before they want to get better.”
Rick Stream pushed for the law for seven of his years in the state House.
“We’ve given the tools now to the families and kids to get treatment and we hope that they’ll take them and use them,” says Stream.
He says he hopes people will take advantage of the new law, and he also talks about the stigma associated with eating disorders.
“Nobody wants admit they’ve got an addiction. Nobody wants to admit that they are doing this to their body. Anorexia and bulimia are not a natural thing,” says Stream.
Stream’s daughter, Katie, died while fighting bulimia in 1995.