Walden Opens Largest Hospital for Eating Disorders in the US
The state-of-the-art 24-hour inpatient and residential care facility opened today in Dedham, MA.
Boston, MA – Walden Behavioral Care today opened the largest freestanding 24-hour inpatient and residential care facility for people with eating disorders in the United States, right here in Massachusetts. The new 68,000-square-foot facility was uniquely designed by leaders in innovation, hospitality, and modern healthcare to foster a healing environment in which people at every level of their eating disorder journey can receive the care that they need.
“Our administration believes in the importance of behavioral health and is working to promote these services within our system,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Walden Behavioral Care’s work to expand their behavioral health services to include this new facility for people with eating disorders is another important step in the necessary work to prioritize these services, and I want to congratulate the team at Walden on the launch of this facility.”
Eating disorders are a major and growing problem. With the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, more than 30 million people of all ages and genders will suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. alone. Every 52 minutes, at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder in the U.S.
“The opening of the Walden Behavioral Care Center for Recovery creates another access point for specialized behavioral health treatment, something to be applauded especially during a time when people are struggling with the mental health impact of COVID-19,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “I’m pleased to celebrate the addition of another behavioral health resource in Massachusetts.”
The new hospital has a total of 82 residential and inpatient beds and is in an easily accessible location right off Route 128 in Dedham, MA. Its holistic design was informed by current and past patients, partners, members of the eating disorders community, hospitality leaders, and innovators. Patients inspired the design, tone, and spirit of the building, including a nature theme. Other features of the Walden Behavioral Care Center for Recovery include:
- Pods designed as intimate community settings to foster specialized treatment, to create better support systems, and to group similar ages together.
- An experienced in-house team of cuisine specialists working directly with dietitians.
- A state-of-the-art coaching kitchen for hands-on exposure and skill-building to simulate post-treatment coping and management skills.
- A refreshed approach to nutrition tailored to help patients develop adaptive behaviors to deal with eating disorder urges and to create a safe and supportive space to practice alternative means of distress tolerance.
- Integrative medicine – The hospital will offer integrative experiences that bring the body, mind, and soul into alignment, including mindfulness practices, such as yoga, meditation, and consultations with a naturopath.
- Expressive therapies – For an individual with an eating disorder, creativity, and artistic exploration can be both healing and transformation. Spaces were specifically designed to allow better access to a broader range of expressive therapy options, including dance and movement therapy, drama therapy, and bibliotherapy.
“The Center for Recovery is a whole new version of what a mental health recovery center should be – a bright, warm, clean, safe, attractive, welcoming place where the environment lifts you up as soon as you arrive, that signals that you are important and infuses you with hope,” said Dr. Stu Koman, President, and CEO of Walden Behavioral Care. “Our new center brings together the most current, evidence-based clinical care with thoughtful integrative therapies.”
The prevalence and seriousness of eating disorders are even more alarming when we consider the impact of COVID-19 on mental health – the disease itself, restrictive policies aimed at reducing its spread, economic consequences, and more have led to a behavioral health pandemic. As a result, there has been a huge uptick in the number of people seeking help with their eating disorders. In fact, a recent study by the Academy of Eating Disorders found that two-thirds of people suffering from an eating disorder felt that their condition has worsened during the pandemic.
Eating disorders impact people of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities, but some demographics are disproportionately affected. In a survey of 1,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, a shocking 54% reported an eating disorder diagnosis. Of these, 58% of respondents said they have also considered suicide. Among transgender individuals who identify as straight, 71% reported having an eating disorder. There are also inequities when it comes to race. Black teenagers are 50% more likely than white teenagers to exhibit bulimic behavior, such as binging and purging. Walden is the only dedicated eating disorder treatment company nationwide to receive an LGBTQ Healthcare Equity Leader designation from the Human Rights Campaign and is leading the way with its pioneering whole-person and evidence-based approach to the treatment and care of every patient.
While the facility in Dedham is innovative and new, Walden has been treating people with eating disorders since 2003 and is at the forefront of providing people with specialized treatment and care at every level on their recovery journey. Walden is currently accepting referrals for all levels of care.
About Walden Behavioral Care
Walden Behavioral Care is a leading mental healthcare system specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. Serving children, teens, and adults of all genders and eating disorder diagnoses, it is one of the nation’s only providers to offer a full continuum of care. Since 2003, Walden’s promise has remained the same: to provide top-quality, evidence-based care that is proven to support lasting recovery. Over the past 17 years, Walden has helped more than 25,000 individuals in their recovery journeys. With 12 locations and more than 450 dedicated professionals across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Georgia, Walden is committed to helping people get the eating disorder support they need and deserve. For more information, please visit www.waldeneatingdisorders.com