The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced The Anna Westin Act (HR 2515.) Westin was a Minnesotan who had battled anorexia for five years when she died in 2000 at the age of 21. Her family’s struggle to understand the disease and get Westin the treatment she needed was the impetus for this important legislation.
The bipartisan bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL 21st District) and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL 27th District.), would require training for health professionals and school personnel to identify eating disorders in their early stages and to provide intervention.
“Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness,” notes Anna’s mother, Kitty Westin whose assertion is supported by the American Journal of Psychiatry. “I remember thinking, ‘Why aren’t people taking this more seriously?’”