To coincide with Eating Disorders Awareness Week (2-8 March 2020), Healthy London Partnership, has launched guidelines – in partnership with Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity – for educational professionals about helping children and young people with eating disorders to seek treatment. These guidelines are being dispatched to schools and colleges across London to increase knowledge and understanding and to put a stop to myths.
Eating disorders are serious and complex mental health conditions that can have many underlying causes which tend to manifest during adolescence. There are many common eating disorders and it is vital that children and young people and their families and carers can access high-quality care and support as soon as possible, if an eating disorder if suspected. This can improve recovery rates, lead to fewer relapses and reduce the need for inpatient admissions, so it is important to recognise the symptoms early.
The eating disorders guidelines share advice about spotting the signs of eating disorders and when to refer children and young people (CYP) to the community eating disorders service (CEDS) for specialist support.
Dr Ann York, Clinical Advisor for Children and Young People’s Mental Health, Healthy London Partnership, said: “We are delighted to publish these guidelines for those professionals working in schools and colleges.
“Educational professionals needed simple guidance on identifying and knowing what to do if they were worried a child or young person might have an eating disorder.
“Having generally been unaware of their local Community Eating Disorder Service (CEDS) and directing people to their local CAMHS, we are pleased to be able to share these guidelines and ultimately help young people and their families.
“The key message is, if an education professional suspects a child or young person has an eating disorder, they should be referred immediately to their local CYP CEDS, to access the treatment they deserve.”
Emma Murray, Head Teacher, Seven Sisters Primary School and Centre, said: “A very easy to read, visual guideline that supports educationalists in spotting the early signs of eating disorders.
“Teachers are in a very unique situation whereby they can spot the signs early as they see children regularly.
“These guidelines will assist us in knowing what to look for, in knowing what to say and most importantly knowing where to get support.”
Andrew Radford, Chief Executive of Beat, said: “The Healthy London Partnership is making a significant difference to the future health of the thousands of children and young people across London who are struggling with the early stages of an eating disorder.
“These guidelines will amplify the training Beat is providing to London’s teachers as together we seek to ensure that young people start treatment as quickly as possible, so that they get better faster and stay well longer.”
The guidelines also include the Beat ‘Eating Disorders – Know the first signs’ resource, and information about Beat support services.
Download our eating disorders advice educational professionals.