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Online support for eating disorders

Published: 28 Feb 2018 10:01

New resources give young people and families advice and peer support.

Young people struggling with eating disorders are being provided with peer support and advice through new online resources.

An online peer support tool allows young people to pair with a trained volunteer who has recovered from an eating disorder (ED) such as anorexia and bulimia.

This is alongside a new website, the CarED platform, that hosts video tutorials and links for parents and carers, and a database of services across the country. The Scottish Government funded NHS Lothian to build the site, and the health board has worked with eating disorders charity Beat and young people who have recovered from EDs to develop the resources.

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt launched the resources at a visit to Edinburgh Royal Hospital to mark Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

Ms Watt said:

“These online peer support and training tools are a fantastic example of all of those involved in mental health – the NHS, the third sector, people with lived experience and government – thinking creatively and working in partnership to improve the care and support available.

“On average, 149 weeks pass before those experiencing eating disorder symptoms seek help, a gap of almost three years. By offering support in a way that matches the digital lifestyles of today’s young people, we can increase the numbers who access treatment earlier and make a full and fast recovery.”

Cathy Richards, Lead Clinician for CAMHS, NHS Lothian said:

“We are really proud in NHS Lothian to have developed this new website for parents and carers of young people with eating disorders. We know that the first few weeks of diagnosis and treatment can be bewildering and overwhelming, and this new resource has been designed to help support families. It offers practical advice and online resources alongside evidence-based treatment to quickly give parents and carers the right information they need to support their child in their recovery.”

Catherine Leckie, contract delivery officer for Beat, said:

“Beat are delighted to have partnered with NHS Lothian and are thankful for the Scottish Government’s support. Having Beat ambassadors, young people and carers with personal experience share their stories and develop and review CarED is a vital strength of the platform. It is a service for people with eating disorders, developed by people affected by eating disorders.”

Background

Link to the CarED platform

To register for the peer review service, email teced@beateatingdisorders.org.uk

Supporting the resources is an action in the Scottish Government Mental Health Strategy. The Scottish Government is providing £129,187 over two years.

Anorexia nervosa affects, on average, about 1 in 250 females and 1 in 2000 males. It has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder of adolescence. About five times as many young people suffer from bulimia.