Health professionals at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust are encouraging people concerned about their eating habits or those of someone they know to seek support as part of Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
The national awareness event which is taking place 22 to 28 February and led by charity B-eat is focusing this year on reducing stigma surrounding eating disorders and in particular supporting someone"s recovery in the workplace. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses affecting 725,000 men and women of all ages and backgrounds in the UK. B-eat carried out a survey which revealed that more than 30% of people felt stigmatised or discriminated against because of an eating disorder at work.
Shelley French, Eating Disorder Service Manager at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust explains why it"s important for people to seek help both for someone living with an eating disorder and for those who will be supporting that person:
"When someone has any type of mental health illness it can be a confusing time for both the individual affected but also their carers and friends and family. Stigma plays a massive role in how long people may take to access the help and support they need. However it is important that when you start to become concerned about your own health or that of a loved one contact is made as soon as possible with services who can provide the correct care and treatment required.
When people refer into our service we create a tailor made treatment package to help them in their recovery, as well as providing support and information for people who may be assisting the individual. Work places play an important role in this as people need to know they are able to speak about their illness and return to their normal routine without fear of judgment or discrimination. If employers would like some information on how to support employees recovering from an eating disorder they can contact their local service, details of which can be found on our website at www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/eating-disorders."
B-eat in association with ENEI (Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion) have produced a best practice guide for employers to provide a thorough understanding of eating disorders from an employer"s perspective. This can be found at www.b-eat.co.uk/support-us/eating-disorder-awareness-week. If you are concerned about the habits of someone you know, or if you are a carer for someone living with an eating disorder, the service is running a series of informal drop-in sessions on the first Tuesday of the month at a location in Lancashire. For more information about the sessions and your local service please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/eating-disorders.