Calls for awareness about eating disorders

CARERS affected by a loved one’s eating disorder are calling for better support, education and awareness.

The plea has been made by carers who attend a monthly eating disorder carers support group organised by the Chichester-based Carers Support Service.

Currently, specialist treatment is restricted to adults of working age who have a BMI of 15 or less. Younger people with a BMI higher than 15 struggling with an eating disorder can be referred via their GP to the child and adolescent mental health service but this is not a specialist eating disorder service. Many people are supported only by their GP or family.

The group has requested a meeting with the commissioners responsible for primary care, mental health provision and children’s services. It is hoped a rolling programme of therapeutic workshops designed to enable families to provide the appropriate vital support to the person suffering from the disorder will be given priority consideration by commissioners. In addition they have asked for a wide-ranging awareness programme of education and training for GPs and other professionals, with particular emphasis on those working with school children and students.

Founder member of the group Gill Keates said: “It feels to me that the necessary impetus is lacking locally to tackle the problem of eating disorders, and maybe it is up to us, the carers at the sharp end, to draw attention to the need for more effective services.”

Anne Easterbrook of the Carers Support Service said: “We have been concerned to discover how many families are coping with little or no support. “We can only support carers where the basic essential services are in place to support the people they care for and in this case they appear to be absent. The initial response from commissioners has been positive and we work together to achieve more effective services.”

For more information about the group contact the Carers Support Service on 01243 790406.