Where to go for support when you have an eating disorder

This Eating Disorder Awareness Week, we're looking at what young people have told us about their experiences, and where to go for support if you need help.
young female adult

According to Beat Eating Disorders there are an estimated 1.25 million people in the UK with an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses that anyone can develop, no matter their age, gender or background.

In Northamptonshire, Healthwatch surveyed over 2,000 young people aged 9-24 to find out more about their knowledge and experience of eating disorders.

Through their work, they found that:

  • Just under 80% knew what an eating disorder was
  • Over half didn't know where to go for support
  • 39% didn't know about any specific services for children and young people
It was a struggle and it is a constant struggle; you do not know who to turn to get help for your child and there are not enough people who know enough about eating disorders.
— Parent talking to Healthwatch Northamptonshire

Where to go for support

  • Visit your GP 
    If you think that you have an eating disorder you should visit your local GP. They will ask you about your eating habits and lifestyle. If they think that you might have an eating disorder they will refer you to a specialist. 
  • Talk to a friend or family member
    It can be very hard to admit you have a problem and ask for help. Start by talking to a friend or family member. You could even bring them with you to your appointment to make you feel more comfortable.
  • Talk to an advisor 
    Beat - The UK's Eating Disorder Charity - has advisors who can talk to you about the different types of eating disorders, and provide information about recovery and the support available to you. Take a look at their website or contact them using the details below: 

Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677 


Youthline: 0808 801 0711 


What should services do to help?

  • Provide quicker access to support. According to the Care Quality Commission, 27% of people with an eating disorder wait 11 weeks or more to get the right support.
  • Raise awareness of eating disorders and make information about local treatment and support easy to access.
  • Offer more information about support groups to help people support a friend or sibling struggling with an eating disorder.

Advice and information

Do you or a family member need advice and information about eating disorder services? Contact your local Healthwatch.

Talk to your local Healthwatch


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