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Innovative Approaches to Eating Disorders and Addiction Recovery: Insights from Body Peace Canada and ConnexOntario

Fireside Chat Webinar


29 May 2024

About the Webinar

Addictions and eating disorders are complex, biopsychosocial illnesses that are increasingly common. A 2024 study from the Butterfly Foundation in Australia found a 21% increase in eating disorders since 2012.

Long wait lists, restrictive criteria, or no care at all often prevent those impacted by eating disorders from receiving support. Less than 30% of those with an eating disorder seek or receive treatment.  Barriers include stigma, shame, a lack of hope, a lack of knowledge regarding available care. The evidence is clear – early intervention and rapid access to care results in the best outcomes. But how to encourage people to reach out for support?

Organisations like Body Peace Canada and ConnexOntario, are creating welcoming virtual spaces to encourage people to connect with peers and professionals, decrease stigma and shame, and increase hope for recovery. They offer a range of peer support (from trained peer mentors), self-guided learning, and self-assessment tools, and simple, digitally-enabled ways to bridge the gap between the services that are available and the people who need them. Eating disorders and addictions are treatable, and a full recovery is always possible and these organisations offer a supportive space to explore and sustain recovery.

In this webinar, experts from Body Peace Canada & ConnexOntario will present an overview of the systemic and individual challenges related to eating disorders and addiction recovery. They will speak to the impact of peer support and immediate navigation support for those providing and receiving support, and how robust training and supervision ensures support is safe and effective. 

Key discussion points

  • Why is it so critical to have supports that are easy to access?
  • What are the roles of professional navigation services and peer support for eating disorders and addiction recovery?
  • How do these programs align with a Stepped Care model?
  • What strategies and structures can be put in place to mitigate risks and ensure fidelity related to the delivery of peer support and how can navigation services ensure individuals are referred to credible and reliable services?
29 May 2024
8:00 am -
9:00 am


Samantha Cornelissen

System Navigation and Information Specialists Team Lead, ConnexOntario, Canada

Samantha Cornelissen is the System Navigation and Information Specialists Team Lead at ConnexOntario and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. With over 20 years of experience working in the Mental Health and Addictions Sector in both rural and urban settings, Samantha recognizes the importance of eliminating systemic barriers to accessing mental health and addiction care, and wholeheartedly supports educating individuals about mental health and addictions as a means to eliminate stigma. Samantha actively participates in her community as a board member for the local long-term care facility, and frequently volunteers at special events. Samantha lives in a small southern Ontario town with her husband and two children.

Shaleen Jones

Executive Director, Eating Disorders Nova Scotia and Body Peace Canada

Shaleen Jones has been an advocate, organizer, supporter, and all-round rabble rouser in the field of eating disorders for over twenty five years, holding leadership positions with community organization such as the BC Eating Disorders Association, Laing House, Peer Support Canada, and CMHA National. She is the Executive Director of Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, and Founder of Body Peace Canada.

Having overcome an eating disorder, she is passionate about recovery, the transformative power of peer support, and creating sustainable, systematic changes across the sector.  Shaleen was one of the first people trained to provide peer support for those with eating disorders in Canada, and earned her Peer Support Certification from Peer Support Canada in 2015.

She has been recognized for her work with an Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, the Invisible Champion Award from the Bhayana Family Foundation, and the Association of Psychologist of NS Community Award in Mental Health. She currently serves on the Mental Health Advisory Council to the Federal Minister of Health and is a member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Hallway Group, Quality Mental Health Care Network, and the E-Mental Health Collaborative. She is a terrible but enthusiastic knitter, and devotes time every summer to picking huckleberries to make jam. 

Gregor Henderson


Gregor Henderson, an Independent Consultant and Mental Health Adviser, works across the UK, Europe and internationally. Collaborating with various national, international organisations and Governments. With expertise in policy, strategy implementation and operational delivery, he also serves as a thought leader in digital mental health. Formerly the Director of Mental Health for Public Health England, Gregor led the organisation’s extensive programmes of work on public mental health. Gregor was also the founding director of Scotland’s internationally renowned National Program for Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing. Gregor is actively involved in various initiatives, serving on a variety of boards and forums, such as the eMental Health International Collaborative, UK Research and Innovation and as an active member of the Global Leadership Exchange. Gregor is also the chair of the Research Advisory Group for Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity. Gregor advocates for an integrated approach, combining policy, research, practice, and lived experiences to transform societal impact on mental health. Gregor is also a coach and mentor in mental health and shares his insights through writing and lecturing.