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Canterbury and Coastal: Supporting people with eating disorders

User AvatarPosted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 21/02/2014 10:22:09

With Eating Disorders Awareness Week starting on 24 February, NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is raising awareness of local services to help those with an eating disorder.

GPs are also advising people of the signs of eating disorders – and when to seek help.

A pilot project based at Canterbury’s University Medical Centre has been commissioned by the CCG to support people with eating disorders.

The service is available to young people in the area who have had an eating disorder for 18 months or more, but are able to manage their condition without having to go into hospital.

It offers psychotherapeutic treatment for between six and 20 sessions, and is able to provide for around 18 patients a week during term time. 

A female patient, aged 27, who wishes to remain anonymous, has praised the service. She said: “It has been a huge help. It has allowed me to not only talk about my problem but also learn new tools and strategies to help me manage much better day-to-day. The Medical Centre is a safe place to come and I felt comfortable and not like I was being judged. I was given reassurance at each session and liked that we could focus on how far I had come along overall.”

Megan Wells, Vice President of Student Welfare at the University of Kent, said: “Having the eating disorder clinic on campus is such a benefit for students. Most students have to use public transport to access their health care, so having a much needed service on campus is just fantastic. The service has helped so many students with such a difficult disorder, and I am really pleased that we have this service available to us all which is making a real difference to people’s lives.”

Dr Mark Jones, Chair of NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG, said: “There are Kent-wide services that help people with the very early onset of eating disorders or difficulties, and specialist care for those who are very seriously ill, but we felt that we needed to do more on a local basis to support those who have a longer history of eating disorders without needing hospital care.

“We hope that the clinic will help bridge the gap between services and help reduce the amount of people needing to be hospitalised because of their condition.

“Eating disorders can be incredibly complex, but with the right support they can be overcome. Although the clinic is based at University Medical Centre it is open to people from across the Canterbury and Coastal area.

“If you are struggling with an eating problem it is important to seek help. In the first instance you should speak to your GP who will be able to provide advice and a referral to the appropriate service if needed.”

Signs that someone may have an eating disorder include:

• missing meals.

• complaining of being fat, even though they have a normal weight or are underweight.

• repeatedly weighing themselves and looking at themselves in the mirror.

• making repeated claims that they have already eaten, or they will shortly be going out to eat somewhere else.

• cooking big or complicated meals for other people, but eating little or none of the food themselves.

• only eating certain low-calorie foods in your presence, such as lettuce or celery.

• feeling uncomfortable or refusing to eat in public places, such as a restaurant.

• the use of "pro-anorexia" websites.

For further information on Eating Disorders Awareness Week, visit www.b-eat.co.uk.