This week (27 Feb – 5 March) is Eating Disorders Awareness Week, a national initiative highlighting the issue of eating disorders and raising awareness of what help and support is available.
A recent report by Beat estimates that more than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder. Although many eating disorders develop during adolescence, it’s not unusual for people to develop eating disorders earlier or later in life. There are reports of cases in children as young as 6 and some research reports cases developing in women in their 70’s.
Here at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, we provide a specialist Community Eating Disorder Service for under 18’s as part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). This service offers early intervention and provides prompt assessment and treatment for young people and families experiencing eating disorders.
Dr Julie Franklin, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Leeds CAMHS Eating Disorder Service said, “Assessment and treatment is provided mainly on an outpatient basis by a highly specialist multidisciplinary team, which includes psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians, dieticians, mental health nurses, CAMHS practitioners and family therapists. Following a referral, a family will be offered a comprehensive assessment. Based on the outcome of the assessment, possible interventions include NICE compliant evidence based treatments including family based treatment, CBT-e, individual approaches as well as ongoing physical monitoring and regular reviews.”
The service, which is based at The Reginald Centre in Chapeltown, operates out of clinics across the city including Bramley and Beeston. As a team they work closely with all LCH CAMHS teams (community teams, transitions, inpatients and Community Outreach Service). They also work directly with schools, as well as providing advice and consultation to other NHS colleagues.
Referrals, which are made via GPs or Mindmate SPA (Single Point of Access), are up 30% since 2015.
Mark Hodgson, Community Dietician explains, “Eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia are multifactorial, and can be influenced by a combination of both biological and environmental factors including parent’s attitude towards food, advertising on television, and more and more commonly, social media.”
To mark National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, the team is supporting Beat’s ‘Sock It to Eating Disorders’ campaign.
Lucy Rigley, Assistant Psycologist said, “As well as donning our silliest socks, we’ll be pinning up cut-out socks across our bases and asking people to write messages of support on them, as well as sharing questionnaires and feedback forms.”
Kate Burns, Team Manager added, “The sooner someone gets the treatment they need for their eating disorder, the more likely they are to make a full recovery.
“The first step to recovery is seeking help. You can do this by speaking to your GP who can make a referral to the CAMHS specialist Eating Disorders Service through Leeds Mindmate Single Point of Access.”
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