RWJBarnabas Health: From Broken to Beautifully Broken 


This post is sponsored by RWJBarnabas Health

It’s the busy season, and for many NJ MOMs, self-care isn’t at the top of their lists. But it’s important to recognize even when things seem overwhelming. That’s why Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, recently hosted an event, “From Broken to Beautifully Broken: A Journey of Healing That Changed A Narrative Of A Life.” The evening put a spotlight on mental health, and NJ MOM had the chance to attend, where speakers discussed mental health and self-care, focusing on empowerment and awareness surrounding the uptick in eating disorders and how RWJBarnabas Health with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care is helping diagnose, treat, and offer support strategies to change lives. (feature photo taken at event)

RWJBarnabas Health

Left to right: Sharon Ryan, Ella Shae and Serena Collado. Photo taken at event

RWJBarnabas Health Programs

A mixture of RWJBarnabas Health staff, patients, and a non-profit organization (Greater Somerset County YMCA) joined in the evening of dinner and discussion. In her welcome remarks, Serena Collado, director of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Community Health Department, shared that the hospital has one of two inpatient eating disorder programs in New Jersey. She also shared that they have partial hospitalization five days a week and outpatient care three days a week, as well as support groups for patients and family members led by a multidisciplinary team led by physiatrists, nurses, social workers, therapists, and dietitians.

Eating Disorder Statistics

There is “1 death every 52 minutes from an eating disorder,” said Sharon Ryan, MEd, LAC, AABC, Eating Disorder Therapist on Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Eating Disorder Unit, as she shared the signs of eating disorders, causes, and treatment options. Eating disorder issues can also begin at a young age. Ryan added that “42% of first to third-grade girls want to be thinner, and 81% of 10-year-old children are afraid of being fat.” She also emphasized that the pandemic has challenged our mental health and, specifically, our relationship with food as a coping mechanism.

Real life experience

Ella Shae, a former eating disorder patient and author of “From Broken To Beautifully Broken,” a book about having the power to change the narrative of your life, spoke about her book and challenges. Her lack of self-care contributed to her downward spiral that led to an eating disorder and her journey back to health. As Shae spoke, her words resonated with the attendees, who learned that since the pandemic, many may have experienced trauma of some kind or eating disorder/issue with food. “We need a network of people to guide us and help us—the people I surrounded myself with during recovery was crucial,” Shae said. Patients who were in attendance emphasized that support is one reason they appreciate Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Eating Disorders Unit. The community they offer is what helps them recognize the importance of having a facility and program that sustains health, well-being, and, ultimately, self-care for recovery. 

For more information about Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Eating Disorder Programs and RWJBarnabas Health, visit RWJBarnabas Health or call 800-300-0628.


About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.