Eating disorder charity to provide training for parents and carers

Beat charity CEO Andrew Radford.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Beat charity CEO Andrew Radford.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Norwich-based national eating disorder charity Beat is partnering with Norfolk Community Eating Disorder Service to provide training for parents and carers of people with eating disorders.

More than one million people in the UK have an eating disorder and these illnesses cost families an average of £32,672 a year in travel expenses, lost income and other costs.

Families can provide vital support for eating disorder sufferers and guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that family-based therapy is usually the most effective method for first treating anorexia and bulimia in young people.

Yet more than 40pc of carers nationally said that on first referral they did not receive any information about eating disorders, and more than 60pc said they were not told about sources of help such as peer support groups or helplines. In research published last year 44pc of mothers and 31pc of fathers described themselves as 'extremely badly affected' by delays in getting treatment for their child.

Norfolk mother Jane Moyse, whose daughter Eliza fell ill with anorexia when she was 14, said, 'We felt very alone and isolated when Eliza had her eating disorder. Although the children and adolescent mental health service set up a meeting for parents, there was no real advice and support for us.

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'All we wanted was someone to talk to and advise us how to react and what to say when Eliza was struggling, or to talk to other parents who had been through this'

To ensure that parents and carers have the knowledge and support they need, Beat is running a two-day workshop on January 19 and 20 specifically designed to help them better understand eating disorders and develop practical skills for talking to someone who is suffering.

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Beat's head of communications Rebecca Field said: 'Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect people of all backgrounds, ages and genders.

'Families can provide vital help for loved ones suffering with an eating disorder and it is essential that they get the information and support they need.

'With the support of NHS services Beat's training can empower parents and help them work together with medical professionals and sufferers themselves for a full recovery for their loved ones.'

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