Online service to help young carers support someone with an eating disorder
Helplines have moved on from providing help just over the phone. An innovative new service provides a safe online space for young people affected by eating disorders. Beat – the UK’s leading eating disorder charity – has received funding from BBC Children in Need to expand their online support services to include a space for young carers under the age of eighteen. Beat’s Young Carer’s Club, which will take place on Wednesday evenings, is designed to offer a space to anyone under the age of eighteen who is supporting someone with an eating disorder, whether they’re a sibling, friend, child or other relative.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders. Over 1.6 million men and women of all ages and backgrounds in the UK are affected by eating disorders and they claim more lives than any other mental illness. One in five of the most seriously affected will die prematurely from the physical consequences or suicide.
Siblings and friends of those affected by eating disorders talk to Beat about the feelings of isolation they feel, as well as describing the fear, sadness, frustration and helplessness that they may experience. One young person summed up their feelings as follows:
“The hardest thing when having a best friend with an eating disorder is when things are out of your reach. You can try your hardest, but to see them go through pain is horrible and all you want to do is stop it and you can’t! Visiting them in inpatients is hard. My school often don’t understand why I get upset or why my work goes downhill just because I’m not the one with the eating disorder. Friends of those who have eating disorders really need help as well!”
Beat is the UK’s leading charity supporting anyone affected by eating disorders or difficulties with food, weight and shape, and is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.
More details about the club and how to sign up are on the Beat website, where there is also information about Beat’s other support services.Beat Website