Carer & Family Resources
Caring and supporting someone with an eating disorder can be extremely emotional, isolating and exhausting. It is important to make sure that you have support in place for yourself too. Best practice guidelines recognise this, and state that family members or carers should also be assessed to see what support they require.
Often family members or carers can feel guilty, or that they are responsible for the eating disorder, however it is important to remember that this is not the case. Instead, research has indicated how useful family involvement is in helping someone overcome their eating disorder, particularly for younger patients who have been unwell for a shorter period of time.
Often carers say that knowledge is power; they feel more able to care for their loved one after learning more about their difficulties. We have therefore put together resources to help provide education about eating disorders, how to support your loved one, and where to seek support for yourself.
‘Skills-based Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder’ by Janet Treasure
"Skills-based Caring equips carers with the skills and knowledge needed to support those suffering from an eating disorder, and to help them to break free from the traps that prevent recovery. Through a coordinated approach, it offers detailed techniques and strategies, which aim to improve professionals' and carers' ability to build continuity of support for their loved ones. Using evidence-based research and personal experience, the authors advise the reader on a number of difficult areas in caring for someone with an eating disorder.”
‘Survive FBT Skills Manual for Parents Undertaking Family Based Treatment (FBT) for Child and Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa’ by Maria Ganci
"This book is a valuable resource for parents commencing FBT and for parents struggling during treatment. It offers clear, practical advice and empowers parents to confront whatever the illness throws at them. It is also an important resource for clinicians and will help them guide their families through treatment.”
‘Anorexia and other Eating Disorders: how to help your child eat well and be well: Practical solutions, compassionate communication tools and emotional support for parents of children and teenagers’ by Eva Musby
“In Anorexia and Other Eating Disorders, Eva Musby draws on her family’s successful use of evidence-based treatment to empower you to support your child through recovery.
- Learn practical and effective mealtime skills
- Help your child to eat well and be free of fears and compulsions
- Know what to say and what not to say in highly charged situations
- Recognise the treatments that work and the ones that don’t
- Develop your own emotional resources”
Beat have put together a booklet for families and friends who are helping support someone with an eating disorder. It can be accessed here
Eva Musby, author of ‘Anorexia and other Eating Disorders’ provides video and audio resources which aim to “help you learn very fast how you can help your child to eat in spite of the eating disorder, and what to do at mealtimes.” Her audio resources also aim to help parents restore their own wellbeing, and be compassionate towards themselves.
Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders (F.E.A.S.T): F.E.A.S.T is an international organisation that supports and empowers carers of those with eating disorders, through providing information and peer support. It allows carers to connect with each other through forums, such as Around the Dinner Table and a closed Facebook group ATDT Carer Support Group
Beat: Beat are the UK’s leading eating disorder charity. They offer support for people who have or are worried they have an eating disorder, and those supporting them or who are affected. Beat provide support and information about eating disorders through their helplines, one to one instant chat, social media and emails. Beat also run moderated online groups and message boards, to allow peer support.
It is important to ensure that you are looking after yourself, as well as the person you are supporting. The resources below provide options as where to seek more information and support for yourself.
Mindsmatter: Mindsmatter provide talking therapies for people over the age of 16, who may be experiencing difficulties such as stress, anxiety or depression. You are able to self-refer to the service, through the link provided.
Your GP is there to support you, and can refer you into the local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service, who provide talking therapies.
Carers Link Lancashire: Carers Link provide support for people caring for a loved one, family member, friend or neighbour. You are able to register as a carer via their website, then they will contact you about the services they provide within 3 working days.