The service offers one to one support from ‘befrienders’ who have had a child suffering with an eating disorder themselves and are able to offer first hand advice and support.
When Warrington mother Valerie Whittaker found out that her daughter was suffering from anorexia she felt overwhelmed and guilty. She had not noticed her daughters obsessive food habits and weight loss, she had no idea that anything was going on and knew absolutely nothing about eating disorders.
Though Valerie was blessed with a very supportive GP who quickly provided the family with the care they needed, Valerie was desperate to talk to another parent who had gone through a similar experience and would be able to understand what she was going through.
“You feel a failure that you have not noticed sooner,” she said.
Valerie is now a befriender herself and hopes that she will be able to provide struggling parents with the advice and support she had so desperately needed and wanted to help her daughter.
“When we had a training day for the befrienders they all knew and understood.
Child adolescent psychiatrist, Anne York, who is based in London has said parent to parent advice in situations such as this is extremely beneficial, but has also said it should not replace professional counselling.
“It is very common that families feel isolated and confused about what to do and very alone, so talking to someone who understands and has been through it themselves might just be very helpful. The important thing is that this does not hinder them also getting professional help and does not get in the way of the therapy they are having with a service.”
For more information on the ‘befriending’ service please click here.
If you or someone you know are suffering with an eating disorder or as mentioned in this article you are the parent or friend of a sufferer and need support then please visit our fact sheet for information about how counselling may be able to help you. If you decide you would like to talk to someone in confidence then please visit the homepage of this site where you can use our search tool to locate a qualified professional in your local area.