Take the step and seek help to overcome an eating disorder

1st March 2022

Ensuring people with eating disorders get the treatment and support they need at the earliest possible stage is vital in helping them overcome their condition.

And during Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which ran up until Sunday (6 March), Dorset HealthCare’s eating disorders service urged anyone who may be suffering in silence to take the step and seek help.

In common with the rest of the UK and worldwide, Dorset’s All Age Eating Disorders Service has experienced a surge in demand since the beginning of the pandemic.

The referral rate in 2021/22 to the service (all ages) increased by 53% compared to the same period in 2020/21. Referrals have increased mostly among children and young people (under 19), showing a rise of 76% in the past three years.

Service manager Karen Law said:

“The pandemic sadly has had a huge effect on people with eating disorders and their recovery. Changes to people’s day-to-day routine and periods of isolation from family, friends, peers and support networks led to many feeling disconnected from everyday life and increased anxiety.

“We are now averaging around 100 referrals a month.”

Designed to help people, and their families/carers, overcome a range of eating disorders, the service supports all ages from across Dorset. Referrals to the service can be made through a GP or any health or social care professional. Self-referral and parental referral are also accepted.

The Trust provides a number of evidence-based treatments, tailored to the needs of the individual, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and family based therapy (FBT).

Treatment currently takes place on an outpatient basis, mainly online but with a number taking place face-to-face at sites in Poole and in Dorchester. For those who require day care or inpatient treatment, this is provided at St Ann’s Hospital in Sandbanks, where a new state-of-the-art £8 million development is currently being built to support more local people from 2023.

Karen added:

“A person’s chances of overcoming an eating disorder are far greater if they can quickly get the treatment that will address the factors that contribute to it. It is vital that sufferers, and those caring for them, are aware of the support available and seek help.”

The Trust also runs an online carers support group and carers workshops.

The support group is held on the first Monday of every month from 7-8.30pm. This is open to anyone who is caring for, supporting and/or living with someone with an eating disorder.

In addition, family and friends can attend online workshops to learn more about how they can offer support to a loved one. The next workshop is being held on 6 and 8 April.

For more information about the Dorset All Age Eating Disorders Service and its support offer, visit our website page or call 0300 019 1771.

Nationally, eating disorders charity BEAT can be contacted via its helpline on 0808 8010677 or visit www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk for more information, support and resources. 


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