Patients Struggle to Find Eating Disorder Help in Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Patients Struggle to Find Eating Disorder Help in Tri-Cities

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Experts say millions of people are struggling with eating disorders in the United States, but only about 10% of them actually get treatment. That number could be even lower in the Mid-Columbia, due to a lack of nearby treatment facilities.

Tri-Cities resident Kim Cantley is now happy and healthy after struggling with an eating disorder for most of her life. She says she knows many other people who still haven't received treatment.

"I know over a dozen people that currently have an eating disorder and are suffering that are close to me," Cantley said.

Cantley says they're suffering because there aren't any nearby eating disorder treatment centers. The nearest facilities are in Spokane and Seattle, forcing people to leave behind their families, friends and jobs if they want to get help.

"It takes a lot of courage for someone to pick up the phone and say, 'I'm ready for help.' And to say, 'sorry, we don't have the treatment center here,' is really hard," said Katie Klute from the Tri-Cities Center for Eating Disorders.

Cantley was able to pack her bags to get treatment in Seattle, and then Florida. But for others, having to leave the Tri-Cities just isn't an option.

Local nutritionists and therapists are trying to fill the gap, but Kennewick Dietician Nadine Mitchell says the decision to stay could hinder someone's recovery.

"When people are able to go in-patient and actually have a safe environment where people are monitored 24/7, the meals are prepared for them, they seem to have a better outcome," Mitchell said. 

While their patients continue to fight their eating disorder battles, others will keep fighting to bring them more help..

"My huge goal right now is to facilitate trying to get a true treatment center here," Klute said. 

If you would like to learn more about receiving help for an eating disorder, you can contact Katie Klute at