CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, but important help is available in the Bay Area.
One of the people guiding others through their healing process is a woman who knows the struggle first-hand. Kourtney Gordon has more than 17 years of experience helping people with eating disorders. And she battled her own disease for almost 10 years.
Gordon is the registered dietitian manager at Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater.
"My mission has been to help families help loved ones be able to see that they can recover from this," Gordon said.
She knows how hard it is to overcome this illness.
"I had anorexia from the age of about 11 to 19 or 20," Gordon said. "It was very tough, being afraid to eat, feeling like I had to exercise every moment."
Gordon was able to overcome her condition and is now part of a crusade to help others. She is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. The group partners with the Alliance For Eating Disorders to help raise awareness and assist people struggling in their recovery.
"We are a group of professionals that get together to create awareness and increase education for eating disorders," she explained. "So that this mental illness can get more attention, the right treatments can be accessed, more care can be accessed and more people can get better."
Gordon and her group will be spreading the message of hope and recovery in an event this weekend. For more information, visit www.allienceforeatingdisorders.com.