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Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2012

Please see notes to editors for interview opportunities.

NHS Trust helping people to ‘break the silence’ around eating disorders

In support of Eating Disorders Awareness Week <20-26 February 2012>, Suffolk’s community eating disorders team has vowed to help ‘break the silence’ surrounding the illnesses.

The team, who are part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, have provided adult community eating disorders services in Suffolk and Thetford since 2003.

Student Cara Moran, 24, from Ipswich, was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when she was 17. Cara was first treated by the child and adolescent mental health team, before being transferred to the adult care team.

Cara said: “It can be really hard for people with eating disorders to ‘break the silence’. We are often perfectionists, which makes it really hard to admit something is wrong… but recovery is so worthwhile!

“My advice for anyone who thinks they might have an eating disorder is to ‘break the silence’. And not to ‘break the silence’ for your friends and family – but for yourself! You deserve a happy and fulfilling life and you shouldn’t let anything stop that.

“I got the help I needed from the Trust to get me where I am today. Eating disorders comes with a lot of other complications and mental health problems. I myself was severely depressed and suffered with anxiety but now I am at university, I live with my boyfriend and I am enjoying life.

“Recovery is the hardest thing you’ll ever do but also the most rewarding. We all deserve to be happy and live our lives how we want, not how the eating disorder wants.

“My life has changed dramatically since I broke the silence and asked for help; I’m happy, I’m confident, I’m alive. The eating disorder will always be there in the background but it will never again control me – I will be the one in control of it.”

Andy Richardson, from Thetford is an expert carer of someone with an eating disorder. His wife Jacqui has battled anorexia nervosa for 35 years, and he has first hand experience of how breaking the silence can be difficult, but vital to getting help.

“I made the long term mistake of thinking holidays and high days were the answer rather than supportive communication,” Andy said. “I really did not have the understanding to tackle the condition and feared pushing Jacqui too hard.

“As a carer eating disorders are frightening, particularly at first. The trick is to try and understand the condition as much as possible - do your best to empathise with your loved one and work closely with the health professionals. Without professional help Jacqui would probably not have survived.”

The Suffolk community eating disorders service is run by a multi-disciplinary team comprising an expert mix of specialist nurses, psychologists, physiotherapy, specialist dieticians,doctors excellent secretaries.

Andy added: “The key to Jacqui’s recovery lay in the excellent support from local health professionals. This helped with my eventual understanding of what was going on and having the resolve to take on the eating disorder – ‘the voice’, as I call it – and win.

“It may be hard to break the silence but people should never give up. I didn’t. I do not for a moment regret meeting and falling in love with Jacqui. It has made me a more understanding person but I wish with all my heart I had the knowledge ,understanding and bottle to break the silence, and confront ‘the voice’ all those years ago.”

Suffolk’s top eating disorders expert prepares to retire

Eating Disorders Awareness Week <20-26 February 2012> marks the end of an era in Suffolk, as top expert Gill Burgoyne prepares to retire.

Gill, whose last day is 24 February 2012, has led the Suffolk eating disorders team - part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust - since it began in 2003.

“I have been on such a good journey since the eating disorders service started in Suffolk,” Gill said. “However, while I will no longer be the figure head of the service, I have no doubt the team itself will continue to be recognised for the excellent service they provide.

“Over the past 11 years I have seen a lot of positive changes to how eating disorders are treated but it hasn’t always been easy. The success of our team is down to the fact that the specialist team work together - with clinical opinions valued for every highly individual and complex client we meet. Our business is caring and whether I am here or not that will always be true!”

Gill started nursing in Essex in 1981. After qualifying in 1985, she started work as a
community psychiatric nurse, just as the larger psychiatric hospitals were trying to close and place people with mental health needs in the community itself.

“It is amazing how much times have changed since then – especially in relation to technology,” she said. “I had a pager but it was only one way. If we got paged we would have to hunt around for the nearest phone box to return the call! Modern technology, the ability to text and phone service users, has been invaluable in providing treatment that is patient-centred.”

Gill, a regular contributor to Suffolk magazine Grapevine, will be using her retirement by continuing in her passion for music. A talented saxophone player, Gill is looking forward to more performances with Local Big Band, Horn Factory and small jazz groups as well as continuing her work as a Trustee with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Having already been a member of the famous Ivy Benson Band, Gill’s next goal is to play in New York – preferably the Empire State Building! – and write a book about her endeavours to get there.


Notes to editors:

Andy’s story, in his own words

Andy's full story, written in his own words, can be downloaded at this link:

Interview opportunities

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust can offer the following persons for interview. If you are interested please contact Helen Abbott on 01473 329700 or 07775 016812.

- Gill Burgoyne, service manager, Suffolk community eating disorder team

- Cara Moran, 24, in recovery from anorexia nervosa. Diagnosed at 17, 2 hospital
admissions. Lives in Ipswich.

- Andy Richardson, 35 year family carer of someone with anorexia nervosa. Live in Thetford, which comes under West Suffolk services.

- Frederike Jacobs, psychotherapist, Suffolk community eating disorder team

- Mary McDermott, dietician for East Suffolk, Suffolk community eating disorder team

- Mary Soaman, dietician for West Suffolk, Suffolk community eating disorder team