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Emerging Eating Concerns

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness (20% in the case of chronic anorexia nervosa). Early recognition and intervention for disordered eating can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of treatment. Allowing support to be provided before behaviours become entrenched.

For many young people eating disorders first emerge in the teenage years.

Children and young people struggling with an eating disorder are often secretive about their problems.

School is often a place where the signs and symptoms are first noticed. Staff can act on concerns and help the young person access timely, appropriate care.

Young people may not fully understand the risks and impact on their health of disordered eating and are typically defended and denying of their problem.

The causes of eating disorders are complex and varied but is invariably a part of a broader picture of a young person struggling with their emotional wellbeing and sense of self.

Young people face many pressures during the transition to adulthood in academic and social life as well as increasing pressure from social media to ‘look’ a certain way. Eating disorders can be a way young people attempt to be ‘in control’ when they feel overwhelmed.

  • The National Eating Disorder Association have a detailed list of conditions and signs and symptoms. These can be used a guide if you are concerned about a child or young person.

    ‘Eating disorder’ is a broad term and includes better known illnesses such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. It also includes less well known conditions such as orthorexia – obsessively eating only from a very narrow range of foods considered to be healthy.

    Having a school culture of healthy approaches to diet and exercise is important.

    Students benefit from the opportunity to discuss and reflect on body image and the pressures of social media. Learning techniques to manage the stress of adolescence can help build resilience amongst pupils.

    If you are concerned that a young person has an eating disorder it is important that you act.

    • Find a quiet time to talk to the student.
    • Tell them what you have noticed (tired /avoiding mealtimes/ baggy clothes etc.) ask them how you can help. You may have to revisit this if they initially deny anything is wrong .
    • Help them plan next steps – talking to parents / carers, seeing GP. 
    • If they are resistant to help, and you are worried - discuss next steps with Designated Safeguarding Lead.

    Ensure the child or young person has a named person they can talk to if needed. This should be someone they feel comfortable with.

    If the young person has to take time out of school to recover - a plan of support when they return will be important too.

  • 'All Our Health' free, bite-sized e-learning sessions (Public Health England) - to improve the knowledge, confidence and skills of health and care professionals in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing.

    The sessions cover some of the biggest issues in public health including;

    • Childhood obesity 
    • Pollution
    • Alcohol misuse
    • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

    They contain signposting to trusted sources of helpful evidence, guidance and support to help professionals embed prevention in their everyday practice.

    Shelf Help:

    • Can I tell you about Eating Disorders? - Bryan Lask & Lucy Watson

     

     

     

How Can We Help?

Just One Number Call to speak to a health professional by phoning 0300 300 0123. They will be able to provide initial advice and support and guide next steps with us or signpost you to other more relevant agencies and professionals. It is available 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays.

Referrals for support are made by contacting Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Please make sure you have the consent of the parent and / or young person before you make a referral to us. You do not need to fill out any paperwork prior to this call.

Referrals are made via the telephone to enable us to have an informative conversation with you at the point of referral so we can ensure we have all the required information for early triage and assessment of the child, young person or family. This will ensure the referral gets managed by the appropriate team in a more timely way or we can signpost you to a more appropriate service.

ChatHealth Children and Young people can access us through our text messaging service on 07480635060. They will be able to discuss any health concerns with one of our Practitioners and also be able to request an appointment if they would prefer to meet with us.

Parent Line Parents can access our services by texting our number 07520631590 . This allows them to access the advice and support from a clinician about any health issues affecting their children aged 0-19.

Just One Norfolk Health Passport app Young people age 16-19 can download this app on Apple or Android phones. It provides young people age 16-19 with general health information and advice to increase health literacy. It signposts to services and promotes self care. It aims to increase resilience and wellbeing and to find out how to access health services.

Health Unlocked Parents can be signposted to this. It is a carefully monitored online community forum which allows local parents and carers to talk with each other regarding issues affecting their children. This can be accessed through our Just One Norfolk website.

Solihull Parenting Online For our Norfolk parents there is the opportunity to access this free of charge through Just One Norfolk. It supports parents in understanding their children from 0-19 via 4 modules. Staff working with children and families will also benefit from this – or they can book to do the two day Solihull Training provided by our service by contacting karin.bibby@nhs.net. While COVID-19 restrictions are in place please contact Karin Bibby to register your interest in virtual training as this becomes available.

 

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