Young Woman in a street

Support with an eating disorder

This Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Healthwatch looked at what young people have told us about their experiences, and where to go for support if you need help.

According to Beat Eating Disorders there are an estimated 1.25 million people in the UK with an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses that anyone can develop, no matter their age, gender or background.

In Northamptonshire, Healthwatch surveyed over 2,000 young people aged 9-24 to find out more about their knowledge and experience of eating disorders.

Through their work, they found that:

  • Just under 80% knew what an eating disorder was
  • Over half didn’t know where to go for support
  • 39% didn’t know about any specific services for children and young people

“It was a struggle and it is a constant struggle; you do not know who to turn to get help for your child and there are not enough people who know enough about eating disorders.”

– Parent talking to Healthwatch Northamptonshire

Northumberland Eating Disorder Support

Visit your GP

If you think that you have an eating disorder you should visit your local GP. They will ask you about your eating habits and lifestyle. If they think that you might have an eating disorder they will refer you to a specialist.

Talk to a friend or family member

It can be very hard to admit you have a problem and ask for help. Start by talking to a friend or family member. You could even bring them with you to your appointment to make you feel more comfortable.

Talk to an advisor

Beat – The UK’s Eating Disorder Charity – has advisors who can talk to you about the different types of eating disorders, and provide information about recovery and the support available to you. Take a look at the website or contact them using the details below:

Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677

Youthline: 0808 801 0711

What should services do to help?

  • Provide quicker access to support. According to the Care Quality Commission, 27% of people with an eating disorder wait 11 weeks or more to get the right support.
  • Raise awareness of eating disorders and make information about local treatment and support easy to access.
  • Offer more information about support groups to help people support a friend or sibling struggling with an eating disorder.

Tell us your experience of getting help with an eating disorder.


Laptop, glasses and EDNE and Healthwatch Northumberland logos

Online event – Eating Distress North East (EDNE)

Join us to hear from Maria Lavelle, Training Officer for EDNE (Eating Distress North East), who will talk about the early identification of eating disorders and how best to support those who have one. She will cover how to recognise signs, symptoms and potential triggers of an eating disorder; practical strategies for working with people with eating disorders; and increase your knowledge of local support services in Northumberland and the North East of England.

There will be a chance to ask questions.

Register now and we will send you a link to join closer to the event:

Girl with eating distress

NIWE Eating Distress Service: Parent and Carers Training Day

Caring for a loved one with eating distress or disorder can be a very difficult role and very often the impact this can have on
Parents and Carers can be overlooked. This training day offers a safe environment to increase knowledge , improve skills for dealing with difficult situations and strengthen your own emotional resilience.

The day will comprise of three areas:
Eating Disorder Training
Delivered by Maria Lavelle (NIWE Training Officer)
Aim: To increase knowledge and understanding of Eating Disorders and strategies to be able to help sufferers.
Skills Based Caring
Delivered by Sue Hornsby (Retired Specialist Eating Disorder Therapist/Family Therapist)
Aim: To help carers develop skills and techniques to support their loved ones with the recovery process.
Mindfulness for Health & Well Being
Delivered by Louisa Taylor (Mindfulness Living Teacher)
Aim: To use mindfulness techniques to bring an improved sense of wellness in life for those supporting someone with an eating disorder.

Please book in advance by contacting Maria Lavelle: tel: 0191 221 0233 or email:

More information about NIWE