New provincial funding to address eating disorders could signal the issue is becoming more of a priority for the government, advocates say.

The province says it has earmarked $165,000 over three years to a support organization that will use the money to help patients and their families after treatment.

Anita Simon's teenage daughter struggled with an eating disorder for five years.

"She got incredibly sick. She was on the brink of death,” Simon said.

Simon ended up taking her daughter Nicole to a residential treatment program in the U.S. because there isn't one in Calgary.

While Simon welcomes the funding, she says it doesn't address the treatment gap.

"It's a very small step. It’s not going to impact the lives and health of those afflicted with eating disorders,” she said.

“Even in the hospitals you can wait 16, 18 weeks. That's the average wait times at the children's eating disorders clinic. People can die waiting for that.”

Calgary counsellor Jen Eld, who works with Looking Glass Counselling, says there is a lack of support for individuals and their families.

"We're really needing to see more support for people struggling with these problems,” he said.

But the new funding is a good start, he said.

“It will provide hopefully additional awareness and perhaps prevention in the area of eating disorders and of course support for those that are experiencing eating disorders."

The province says new support groups will start in Edmonton this year and Calgary next year, before expanding to other centres.