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Mental Health Awareness Week: New film highlights success of eating disorders service

​The success of a specialist eating disorder service run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has attracted the attention of renowned author who has produced a video about how it is helping more people by extending the care it provides.

Eva Musby, who has written a book, called “Anorexia and Other Eating Disorders: How to Help Your Child Eat Well and Be Well”, based on her own experiences caring for her daughter, produced the educational video which explores the care provided by Great Yarmouth and Waveney Community Eating Disorder Service.

Eva interviewed Clinical Nurse Specialist Lydia Goodrum and Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Sarah Maxwell, who explained how the community eating disorder service in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area can now cater for all ages, which means people referred in their teens can receive consistent care from a dedicated team without the need to transfer elsewhere when they reach 18.

In addition, the service has also expanded to care for people with moderate difficulties, whereas previously it could only take referrals for the most seriously ill patients, as well as extending its opening hours into the evening and over weekends.

“We were delighted to explain to Eva how our eating disorders service has been making a real difference to people from across Great Yarmouth and Waveney,” said Lydia Goodrum, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Eating Disorders Team Lead.

“Offering care to all ages means that young people don’t go through the distress of changing service when they reach 18, and will also improve the consistency of care they receive.

Expanding the service also means we will be able to reach more young people earlier, and before their problems become too great.

“We have had some amazing results so far and although the new-look service is still in its infancy, it is already making a huge difference to both our patients and their families.”

The nine-strong team offer a wide variety of help for people with eating disorders, including nutritional therapy with a specialist dietitian, psychological therapy, family therapy and help with the social aspects linked with the illness. They also work closely with GPs and other NSFT specialists, while also providing meal support in people’s homes, colleges or schools.

As well as facilitating a parents group, the team will also carry out educational work and try and visit as many schools as they can to raise awareness of eating disorders, the warning signs and where people can go for help.

“We offer a range of evidence-based treatment, and will create a bespoke package for each patient, depending on their individual needs,” added Lydia. “For some people, part of their recovery can involve helping others, and we will do what we can to assist with that too.

“We are also there to help parents and be strong for them, especially when they feel like they are going through their worst nightmare. We will work with them to give them the confidence to take control of their child’s condition and stand up to the eating disorder.

“Our ultimate aim is to treat everyone – regardless of their age – early and help them find their identity so that they can be discharged from the service and go on to lead a healthy life.”