New care package launched for young people with eating disorders

March 3, 2020

Young people living with eating disorders will receive specialist treatment more quickly following the launch of a new care package by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).

FREED, First episode Rapid Early intervention for Eating Disorders, will see patients receive first contact from a specialist within 48 hours of referral and a face-to-face appointment within two weeks.

Launching in west Essex, FREED aims to reduce the length of time people aged 18 to 25 live with untreated eating disorders and increase the likelihood of them making a full recovery.

FREED offers patients experiencing anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and other eating disorders a course of therapy tailored to their individual needs.  The therapy focuses on challenges faced by young people transitioning to adulthood including social media, moving away from home and entering employment.

FREED is already being used by NHS providers in other areas of the UK and has resulted in a reduction in waiting times for assessment and treatment, fewer patients dropping out of treatment, a reduction in the length of time young people live with an untreated eating disorder and fewer patients needing inpatient care away from home.

The launch coincides with Eating Disorders Awareness Week, a national event which runs between March 2 and 8 and aims to raise awareness of eating disorders and the treatment and support available.

Throughout the week the Trust’s Eating Disorder team have been holding events across the county to talk to members of the public about what it means to have an eating disorder and to highlight the help available.   The team are at the Harvey Centre in Harlow today (3 March) to speak to shoppers about the launch of FREED in the area.

Ian Lea, Service Lead for Eating Disorders at EPUT, said: “Eating disorders typically develop in adolescence and early adulthood and lead to changes to a person’s brain, body and behaviour.  Early intervention is essential in reversing these changes and improving the likelihood of a full recovery.

“FREED is already being used by other NHS providers with much success and I’m really pleased that we can now roll it out in west Essex to offer rapid help to young people when they need it most.”

The FREED care package is suitable for people who are experiencing their first episode of eating disorder that is less than three years in duration.

Referral to the service is via GP.

You can find out more on the FREED website.