To provide a framework of care encompassing health and safety issues to NHTI students who exhibit signs and symptoms of an eating disorder. The most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa (self-starvation) and bulimia (binging and purging). Early recognition of this problem will be enhanced through on-going education of students, faculty and staff at NHTI provided by Health Services, Student Affairs, and Residence Life.
Eating disorders are not solely disorders of eating. They are characterized by a focus on body shape, weight, fat, food, perfectionism and by feelings of powerlessness and low self-esteem. The majority of people who experience eating disorders are female. However, 5-20% of people who have an eating disorder are male. The consequences and complications of eating disorders can be severe. Some of the consequences/complications of eating disorders include cardiac arrest, suicide, excessive weight loss, dehydration, injury to the stomach or intestines, kidney dysfunction, erosion of tooth enamel and death.
There are three main areas that most likely cause eating disorders, especially in combination. These include personality factors, genetics and the environment, and biochemistry. Eating behaviors associated with eating disorders seem to develop as a way of handling stress and anxieties. Eating disorders should be treated professionally.
- All NHTI faculty and staff should be vigilant to the signs and symptoms of disordered eating. If suspected, they should gather all information regarding the behavior of the student in question and provide the information to the Director of Student Development and Counseling Services. If the student has made the initial contact with the faculty or staff member, the faculty or staff member should inform the student of available services on campus.
- The Director of Student Development and Counseling Services will conduct an initial evaluation of the referred student based on information provided by faculty and staff and also the utilization of a disordered eating questionnaire.
- The Director of Student Development and Counseling Services will make a verbal and written referral of the student to the Director of Health Services if appropriate. The Vice President of Student Affairs will be notified of the referral.
- The Director of Health Services will conduct a medical evaluation of the referred student and will make outside referrals for counseling or other medical evaluation and intervention as necessary. The student is responsible for all expenses incurred as stated in the NHTI Student Handbook. A release of information will be requested from the student to allow the Director of Health Services and the Director of Student Development and Counseling Services to collaborate with the medical or counseling provider.
- If the student fails to comply with the referral for evaluation or request for medical evaluation, the Director of Health Services will recommend evaluation of the circumstances by the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Depending on the outcome of the medical/psychological evaluation, the following interventions may be required:
- No intervention at this time.
- Ongoing monitoring by a referring party may occur, depending on circumstances.
- Continued monitoring by the Director of Health Services.
An Eating Disorder Intervention Team (EDIT) may be assembled to develop a plan and written compliance contract with the student. The team shall consist of:
- Student’s chosen representative
- Director of Health Services
- Residence Director (if residence life student)
- Referring faculty or staff member
- Coach (if athlete)
- Director of Student Development and Counseling Services
- Other professional (as requested)
- Pursue involuntary emergency admission through Riverbend Mental Health Emergency Services.
- If the student refuses evaluation or referral or based upon the outcome of the EDIT interaction with the student, in consultation with the Vice President of Student Affairs and Vice President of Academic Affairs, the student may be required to leave campus for her/his own health/safety.
- A student who is asked to leave for health/safety reasons may appeal the decision through the Vice President of Student Affairs.