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Stateside Podcast: The NEDA chatbot saga

Design by Rachel Ishikawa

Last year, nearly 70,000 people reached out to the National Eating Disorders Association helpline.

Demand more than doubled during COVID, and still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels. But late this spring the Association shut the helpline down and added a chatbot instead.

Today on the podcast, we look at why the National Eating Disorders Association made this move, and what it means for the people who need this support the most.

Since Michigan Radio’s reporting on this, NEDA has taken down a version of Tessa that was up and running online. When asked why, NEDA says the bot is being “updated,” and the latest ”version of the current program [will be] available soon."


Kate Wells, Michigan Radio reporter

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Music in this episode byBlue Dot Sessions.

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Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Public in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the summer of 2020.