Living with Eating Disorders

You are not alone

Living with an eating disorder can sometimes mean we feel very alone, or excluded, unable to get the help and support we need.

On this page we provide information and links for support that is currently available. It could be that you want to know a little more about eating disorders; you may want to plan how to talk to your GP, or ask for help from specialist services. Importantly we want you to know you are not alone.

You can also find out more about other peoples experiences by watching the double award-winning film, called ‘How Do We Help Everyone to Heal? The Cycle of “Support” For Eating Disorders’. A collaborative project made by Marie Dawson and Sarah Donnelly together with 34 people living with eating disorders in April 2021. This film won two awards in the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (ICS) Film Competition – How do we help everyone to heal?

You can also read our publication called Making our Voice Count, Focus on Eating Disorder Services, which presents service user views and experiences of getting support. We hope that this publication will lead to new conversations, and enable meaningful involvement and coproduction between service users, family/parent carers, commissioners, and providers. Only together can we make positive change happen.

Living with Eating Disorders

How Do We Help Everyone to Heal?

The Cycle of ‘Support’ for Eating Disorders:

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses affecting people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Eating disorders include bulimia, binge eating disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), and anorexia.

Eating disorders can be fatal and they cause serious harm both physically and emotionally. But even though they are serious illnesses, eating disorders are treatable. Many people make a full recovery.

Like any other illness, the sooner someone with an eating disorder is treated, the more likely recovery is. Individuals should be assessed for the psychosocial impact rather than waiting for a physical problem to present itself.

For us, with lived experience, it is a psychological disorder with complex social, physical, and emotional impacts.


Beat is the UK’s leading eating disorder charity. Their mission is to end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders.

They provide information, resources, and a national helpline to encourage and empower people to get help quickly. Beat campaigns to increase knowledge among healthcare and other relevant professionals, and for better funding for high-quality treatment, so that when people are brave enough to take vital steps towards recovery, the right help is available to them.

Resources for support from Beat

1. Tips poster

Spotting the first signs of symptoms of an eating disorder is extremely important when encouraging individuals to get the help and support they need as quickly as possible. That’s why Beat have created their tips campaign – giving you the tips to spot those very first signs of an eating disorder.

If you’re worried someone you care about is showing the signs of an eating disorder, the first step is to talk to them and encourage them to seek help from their GP. To download this leaflet visit:

2. First steps – Talking to your GP.

Beat provide a downloadable booklet on their website which is designed to support you to talk to your GP. It helps people to get a quick referral from their GP to an eating disorders specialist. It has sections giving guidance for the person who has an eating disorder, for people supporting someone with an eating disorder, and for the GP, as well as a space for notes. To down load this booklet visit:

3. Guide for Family and Friends

 This booklet is for anyone supporting someone with an eating disorder. It covers information about eating disorders and treatment and offers guidance on how you might approach the subject if you’re worried about someone you know and how to support them after diagnosis, as well as looking after yourself. It also suggests further useful resources. To down load this booklet visit:

4. Beat helplines.

Helplines are open 365 days a year from 9am–midnight during the week, and 4pm–midnight on weekends and bank holidays.

England:  0808 801 0677

Sometimes the lines are busy. If you can’t get through immediately, please do try again or try Beats one-to-one web chat.

If you need support outside of these hours, Beat also offer email support.

5. Beat email support

Email support for England:

Beat provides Helplines for people of all ages, offering support and information about eating disorders no matter where you are in your journey. These Helplines are free to call from all phones.

Beat is a member of Language Line and can provide access to an interpreter for non-English speaking callers.

Other sources of support

For more information visit the Beat website.

Talk ED

Talk ED is the new name for Anorexia and Bulimia Care. It is a national charity supporting anyone affected by any eating disorder or eating distress. They offer to support people living with eating disorders through one to one support, peer support and befriending. You can find out more through this link.

Talk ED also offers information and support to those caring for someone with an eating disorder. More information can be found on these links.

Signs to look out for

How to talk to someone you are concerned about

Your role in supporting someone

What will happen next

Please note that some of the support Talk ED provides, is not free. Workshops , e-learning and books, are charged for.

Eat Breathe Thrive

Service users have recommended Eat Breathe Thrive as an organisation that provides support and helpful self care tools.

Eat Breathe Thrive is a not-for-profit organization that aims to prevent and help individuals overcome eating disorders. Their mission is to provide skills and resources for mindful eating, emotional resilience, and positive embodiment.

You can find out more by visiting their website where they offer online courses, including Yoga for eating disorder recovery. Some of their courses are free, as they are funded through the National Lottery Community Fund. Others courses are charged for.

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Community Eating Disorder Service (CEDS) Suffolk

This is a secondary care community eating disorder service for children, young people and adults with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder (children only) and related diagnoses. To receove this service you will need to be referred by your GP to the Community Eating Disorder Service.

The Eating Disorder service is a county-wide service delivered from two main sites in West Suffolk and East Suffolk.

  1. Bury North Integrated Delivery Team (IDT), Newmarket Hospital, Exning Road, Newmarket, CB8 7JG. Telephone 01638 558650
  2. Coastal IDT, Bungalow 6, Walker Close, IP3 8LY. Telephone 01473 279200

The core hours for this community service are 9:00 – 17:00. The service offers extended hours to support mealtime planning.

The service states.

“The aim is for children and young people with an eating disorder to have access to timely and high-quality mental health services. This ensures effective assessment, treatment and support for them and their families.  

This will involve holistic service user-centred treatment. This includes psychiatric care, physiotherapy, specialist nursing care, psychological therapies, specialist dietetics and nutrition. The service user’s needs are at the centre of a specialist treatment pathway of care. We support the service user, their families, carers, and supporters towards recovery. We help to improve quality of life and health – physical, psychological, and social”.  

How to access this service – People can access this service through a single point of assessment called Access and Assessment (AAT). The service only accepts professional referrals from GPs, school nurses, health visitors and social workers. Professionals can contact AAT on 0300 123 1334.

For more information visit the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust website:

Suffolk Mind Eating Recovery Group

 For those people currently receiving this service, the Eating Recovery Group is for anybody seeking to improve their relationship with food and anybody managing eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, and addiction.

Group activities include:

  • Planning how to address unmet needs to support recovery
  • Sharing healthy coping strategies
  • Confidential group discussion
  • Handling challenging events and times of year involving eating

The service is also supported by access to one-to-one sessions with a therapist.

Please note: At the time of publication Suffolk Mind is unable to take new referrals for the Eating Recovery Group.