02 Mar Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2020
There are an estimated 1.25 million (or 1.6 million depending on who you ask) people in the UK living with an Eating Disorder (ED) and for every person with an illness there are a number of family members and friends trying to support them. That’s why this year ‘beat’, the leading UK Eating Disorder charity, has chosen to focus their EDAW efforts on highlighting the needs of these estimated 5 million people.
ED’s are particularly complex mental health illnesses that can affect anyone of any size, age, ethnicity and social or economic position. So, essentially anyone could find themselves being a carer or supporter of someone who is struggling or in recovery.
ED’s at the core are coping mechanisms in which the effected person uses food, body weight, shape, or size as a way of dealing with difficult feelings. (This is a vast simplification of course but I am aware that during EDAW people less familiar with these illnesses might stumble upon this very blog post!). Living with an ED can mean that meal times, social occasions, and life is general is very challenging – so family and friends can become heavily impacted and involved in supporting the individual without having any prior understanding or knowledge and often with little support for themselves.
A carer who is knowledgeable and supported is in a far better position to help the person they love on their road to recovery – and so ‘beat’s’ services available to these people are really important.
If you are a family member or friend of someone living with an ED and want to access support you can:-
- Call ‘beat’s’ helpline on: 0808 801 0677
- Email ‘beat’ at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Access ‘beat’s’ webchat: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/support-services/helplines/one-to-one
- Take part in an online support group: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/support-services/online-groups
- Find your local in person support group: https://helpfinder.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/
- Attend a workshop*: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/training-cpd/parents-carers
- Contact me to arrange private therapy: email@example.com / www.counsellingandtraining.co.uk
*I will be speaking to parents and carers at ‘beat’s’ Dolphin workshop this Sunday.
Whoever you are, you can also support ‘beat’ by signing the EDAW Pledge for better support for carers of people with EDs:- www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/edaw
I would also love to hear in the comments (below) your best advice for those supporting someone.