There is a new support group for young people with an eating disorder and their families. The Gloucestershire Eating Disorders Team is starting the group to bring people together to share experiences. This will give additional support for them to understand, live with and overcome an eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and atypical eating disorders affect up to 6% of young women. But they can also occur in men, children and older women. It is estimated that approximately 4,700 people in Gloucestershire could be currently affected.
When someone in a family experiences difficulties with an eating disorder it impacts on the whole family. The new support group is open to the whole family and particularly welcomes siblings to come along.
Vanessa Fray-Smith, Senior Nurse Clinician within the team said: “We provide a family-centred approach. When a young person is ill this can have knock on effects to relationships within their whole family. We try to erase any blame culture, and provide the opportunity for open communication”.
People do not choose to have an eating disorder; it is a mental health issue with physical consequences. Someone can become over concerned with body shape and weight, but have underlying problems of low self esteem. An eating disorder can last for a long time but tends not to go away without help.
The support group is run by Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust and is for people aged 18 and under, their family and friends. The group will give support and information and bring people with similar experiences together. Clinicians from the Eating Disorders Team will be on hand to answer any questions and provide useful information. The group will run on a drop-in basis so that people can attend as they want to and do not have to commit to come every time.
Families across Gloucestershire are welcome to join the group. The group meets fortnightly on Thursday evenings at the University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Campus. The first meeting took place on Thursday 16th of September from 7:30pm till 9:00pm. For more information and to join the group please contact the Eating Disorders Support Team on 01242 634242.