Healthy Eating and Living Support (HEALS)
Penn State Healthy Eating and Living Support (HEALS) is a multidisciplinary program that supports healthy eating and decision-making among students. Our team is comprised of physicians, dietitians, and mental health professionals who specialize in providing education, resources, and support to students affected by eating disorders.
How can HEALS help?
HEALS helps students overcome disordered eating by providing immediate medical services and counseling as well as offering life-long strategies for maintaining health, harmony, and body-acceptance.
Services offered through HEALS include:
- Individual medical evaluation and treatment through University Health Services
- Individual nutrition evaluation and treatment through the Nutrition Clinic, part of Health Promotion and Wellness
- Individual or group therapy through Counseling and Psychological Services
- Case management support to help students with referrals, insurance, and evaluation for outside treatment facilities.
What to Expect
Eating disorders are psychological disorders that manifest through food and may have ultimately devastating medical consequences. No one clinician can have all the expertise needed to address this illness properly. HEALS helps students receive coordinated, well-rounded care that is better than the sum of each individual's work.
Some students struggle to recover while at school. They may lose weight, have unstable vital signs, or be overwhelmed by depression or substance abuse. When this happens the team may recommend a leave of absence so they student can pursue more intensive treatment.
There are usually formal eating disorder treatment centers with varying levels of intensity, hopefully near family or other support systems. Currently, higher levels of care (HLOC) are not available in State College. When it's clear a student needs HLOC, various team members (usually case management and physician) facilitate the admission process.
Family meetings (in-person or via phone)are used to fully communicate the student's situation and engage the family in supporting HLOC.
- Penn State CAPS EAT-11
- National Eating Disorders Association
- Eating Attitudes Test
- Binge Eating Scale
Getting started with HEALS
If you or a friend need help with disordered eating, weight management, or other body image issues, please contact University Health Services and request an appointment with a case manger. You can also get started by contacting Counseling and Psychological Services for a phone screening.
- Life Without Ed. Jenni Schaefer and Tom Rutledge. McGraw-Hill Education, 2003
- Eating by the Light of the Moon. Anita Johnston. Gurze Books, 2000
- Body Kindness. Rebecca Scritchfield. Workman Publishing Co., 2016
- Intuitive Eating. Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012
- The Woman in the Mirror: How to stop confusing what you look like with who you are. Cynthia Bulik, Walker Books, 2012
- Man Up.Andrew Walen, 2014
- Encyclopedia of Body Image and the Human Appearance. Thomas Cash. Academic Press, 2012
- The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Katherine Phillips, Oxford University Press, 2005
- Can’t Buy me Love: How Advertising Changes the Way we Think and Feel.Jean Kilbourne, Prentice Hall & IBD, 2000
- Fat is a Feminist Issue: The Anti-Diet Guide for Women.Susie Orbach, Paddington Press 1978
- Transforming Body Image.Marcia Hutchinson. The Crossing Press, 1985
- Shatterd Image.Brian Cuban, Net Minds Corporation, 2013