The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion launch!

by | 20 Sep 2022 | Eating Disorders | 7 comments

It is with great excitement (and a little anxiety) that I bring to you the announcement of my brand-new online resource service, ‘THE EATING DISORDER RECOVERY COMPANION’.

Launched today – 20th September 2022 – The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion is a monthly subscription service which offers a weekly bundle of resources designed to aid someone on their path towards Eating Disorder recovery.

Each bundle of resources is delivered within an online platform and includes a video (with me), a PDF activity and at least one additional resource.  All components have been beta tested (and improved) with the help of those with lived experience of Eating Disorders.

Once subscribed, content is ‘dripped’ every 7 days as a way to gently nudge the person to take another step and explore another set of resources that might help them.  There is up to an entire year’s worth of content available!

To find out more details (and to subscribe) head straight over to the website (click here or the image) – or to learn more about the creation process keep scrolling.

The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion

Why I created The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion:

Primarily, I created The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion because I became so acutely aware of how many people are currently struggling to access Eating Disorder Services.  I receive emails (and social media messages) every week from people telling me they are stuck on exceptionally long waiting lists, or struggling to get a referral for Eating Disorder care at all.  Up until 2021, I generally felt that offering these individuals therapy, a suggestion of a therapist near them, or signposting them to a charity was a reasonable degree of help.

However, during the pandemic, the number of people coming forward seeking support for Eating Disorders has sky rocketed.  Every private therapist I know who has a good degree of skill in working with those with Eating Disorders has a waiting list of many months; so too do charities, and for adult NHS based Eating Disorder services, it is somewhat of a postcode lottery whether you wait a few weeks, months or a year or more!

I want to be able to help as many people as possible.  I moved my services online – giving me the option to reach people beyond my county.  However, there are only so many hours in the day, and I can only help so many people at any one time.  People started to ask if there were services they could access while they were stuck on waiting lists, and although I directed people to helplines and online support groups, it didn’t seem enough.  So, I decided to try and fill this gap in service provision myself!

The creation process:

The creation of the Eating Disorder Recovery Companion has taken me on somewhat of a 6 month-long rollercoaster.  I initially thought that I would create an 8-week email self-help-based package for folks.  8 weeks because, at the time, that’s how long my waiting list was.  However, as my waiting list got longer, I realised the package needed to be bigger…. Before further realising that this package wouldn’t just be of potential benefit for clients on my waiting list, but on the waiting list for any Eating Disorder related care.

So, I started to research current averages for standard waiting times for adult Eating Disorder services – and was slightly surprised to hear from many online that they were being told of 6-12month waiting times.  With this I decided I needed an entire years’ worth of resources.

By this time, it was apparent to me that if I was to make offering this service sustainable, I couldn’t realistically be sending out resources simply by email.  In fact, even if I tried, I would invariably run into issues with spam filters blocking me, being limited by file size, and the potential to be left hitting send on files for hours on end.  So…my initial thoughts of what this service might be needed to grow too.

At this point I really started to put my head down to think about how I could create something that I could feel proud of, and most importantly, that I felt could help people.  I started to ask those that I was connected to with lived experience what they thought of my ideas – and slowly more shape began to form, and, more importantly, the need for this service became even more apparent.

I realised content needed to be dynamic – not just some email text and a helpful link.  Further the content needed to engage people more, because there are already plenty of self-help books out there collecting dust on shelves.  So, I decided to combine the skills I’d developed through posting educational Eating Disorder content on Youtube, with my personal knowledge and my experience as a Therapist.  The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion started to take shape.

At the point of launch, the creation of this service has taken 100’s of hours of my time, a reasonable slice of cash and the input of a group of those with lived and professional experience.  It has been the focus of my life, and those around me are probably a little fed up with it being the main topic of conversation…. I so hope it helps people!

Who is the service for?

The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion was designed with people stuck on waiting lists for Eating Disorder therapy or treatment in mind.  However, it can also be of benefit to those struggling to gain access to services due to strict referral criteria, those accessing non-specialist mental health support who need a little more focus on this topic, or those that feel they’d benefit from an extra little boost to help them each week as they work in therapy or treatment towards recovery from their Eating Disorder.

Sneek peek!

Why a subscription service?

After much thought, I developed The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion as a monthly subscription-based service that ‘drips’ (releases) new resources to people every 7 days.  This was a well thought out element of the provision I decided to design…

I am aware that some people might only need to use the resources for a few weeks, or a few months, whereas others may want or need to access all 52 weeks.  To start with it hardly seemed fair to charge people for the full package if they only needed a little of it – so I thought a subscription type option might be a good way to handle that.  Further, it spreads the costs for people over the year rather than having to have the ability to pay for the entire thing at once.  Lastly, ‘dripping’ the content each week has another important benefit – it can encourage regular access to and use of the service for those subscribed.  A little email each week to tell the user that another bundle of resources is available to check out can actually go a long way to boosting engagement with the service.  I don’t want the resources to be a book collecting dust on a shelf – I want it to be an aid to people in their recovery!

Let’s talk about cost:

Currently the cost of subscribing to The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion is £15 per month.  So, it would be £180 for the entire years’ worth of resources.  This is (obviously?) something I thought long and hard about… I would love to be in a position to offer the service for free but the reality is that I, too, have to put a roof over my head and food in my belly.  This service has been my main focus for months, it has costs associated with keeping it running, and will continue to involve a lot to maintain.

I do however hope that the cost of £15 feels manageable to the people who might benefit from it. It’s only around the price of a fancy takeaway coffee a week (or whatever else you might want to compare it to).

Some people have, in fact, told me that they think that I have greatly UNDERPRICED the subscription.  However, I hope that by making the resource as affordable as possible more people will be able to benefit from it – and it’ll therefore all work out in the end.

I am so looking forward to (and a little anxious about) hearing your opinion of the brand-new service that has been my main focus for the past months!

7 Comments

  1. Yvonne

    Wow ! ! ! ! ! Finally, your new ‘baby’ is ready. Working so closely with you, as one of your Beta Tester’s, I know the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into designing and delivering this new service – and I can’t tell you how proud I am of you.

    I remember a conversation with you, about 12 months ago, when you were so upset about the growing length of your waiting list and how you wished there was something else that people could access to help them sustain themselves whilst they waited, At that point, you thought it would be easy to produce some self-help resources, but on further exploration you realised that it needed to be more structured – and was more likely to succeed if people received smaller amounts of varied content; but more regularly. And so, The Recovery Companion was created, with a belief that it could be so much more than originally believed.

    You told me that there was no substitute for ‘Talking Therapy’ but so much of the success of this type of treatment was the continued commitment of the client to the process. We all know that there are plenty of self-help books available, but research shows that people buy these books, start reading, and then at some point they are put on the bookshelf and never looked at again. You however, believed that the majority of people require sustained help to overcome difficulties, so it would be better if content could be provided in regular ‘bite size’ portions – so the concept of The Recovery Companion was born.

    I would like to finish by wishing the very best of luck to all of those people who make the leap and become involved with Kel and The Recovery Companion, and I hope that it helps you as much as it has me.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Where have you been all my life ??? Can’t wait to get started. Sally

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    How exciting. I know what you mean about self-help books, my shelf is filled with then and I can’t remember ever finishing one of them.
    Bev

    Reply
  4. Leanne McPherson

    Sorry if I’ve skimmed past this Kel 🙈 is there a recommended age for this?
    I’m so excited to pass this on to clients

    Reply
  5. Kel_MHB

    Hi Leanne, I havn’t specified an age but it is targeted at ‘adults’ given the need to be navigating resources alone and having the capacity to agree to the direct debit mandate as well. However, it would vary a little from person to person but 16+ I think would be reasonable. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Brody

    I’ve never had therapy b4 and I think £180 is still a lot of money as i don’t have a job and I’m not rich. But it’s good that I can pay monthly

    Reply
    • Kel_MHB

      Hi there. I have really tried to make the service as accessible as possible and hope that it feels managable Brody. Please be aware the service is not a replacement for therapy – it is an online guided self-help type of resource. I would highly recommend talking to your GP to get a referal to Eating Disorder service, and using my service while you are on the waiting list. Best of luck.

      Reply

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Kel O'Neill

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