beat (The Eating Disorder Association)

beat formerly known as the Eating Disorder Association is the leading charity in the UK offering information, help and support to anyone affected by eating disorders. beat offers a range of services, which include: Telephone helplines UK wide network of self-help and support groups Membership which includes a regular newsletter A comprehensive range of information, including leaflets for young people Lists of specialist treatment centres available around the country An annual conference for members to get together and learn about the latest developments. The beat website ( contains details of all these services as well as providing a very useful recommended reading list. The adult helpline number is 0845 634 1414, and you can also e-mail the helpline team for information on beat can offer a great deal of support to both the sufferers and carers affected by an eating disorder. Simply by calling the telephone helpline you are making the first step towards self-help. The person at the other end of the line understands what you are going through and can offer a sympathetic ear and many good words of advice. Suddenly you realise that you are not alone! Self-help can also include joining a support group or communicating with others who have experienced eating disorders by post or e-mail. At an Eating DisordersAssociation annual conference in 2001 the benefits of self-help were summarised and included:
  • Reduction in isolation – a feeling of not being alone
  • Opportunities for sharing experiences and coping skills
  • Mutual support – the opportunity for talking to people who have “been there”
  • Swapping and learning new, practical ways of dealing with problems
  • Better understanding of own health concern/ social issues
  • Feeling empowered to take positive steps towards a better health/social situation
  • Taking an active role in own health/ well-being
  • A feeling of being more in control
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Alleviation of stress
  • Reduction in fear and anxiety
  • The provision of relevant information and literature
  • Gaining inspiration and support from others’ experience
  • Alleviation of stress
  • An opportunity to give as well as receive help
  • Increase in social opportunities/ social circle
  • Development of new skills
These are all fairly compelling reasons why it is well worth contacting a self-help organisation such as beat. As I have already mentioned the beat offers help and support for both sufferers and carers. It is worth mentioning exactly what they can offer your son as a young sufferer, as well as what they can offer you as a carer. The Youth Section of beat The beat youth team aims to offer help, advice and support to young people who are 18 years of age and under. If you can persuade your son to make contact with the team this could be a first important step towards recovery. The beat youthline telephone number is 0845 634 7650 and you can contact the youth team at Alternatively young people can text beat on 07786 201820. beat also has a youth message board where you can just read what others have said, or participate by sending your own message.