Sep 16, 2016
We are backing South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) to create a new outreach service to help prevent and fight a prevalent and aggressive eating disorder.
Bulimia nervosa is a complex eating disorder and mental health condition which can be life-threatening. Although it affects all genders, it is more common among women and recent studies suggest that as many as 8% of women have bulimia at some stage in their life. It is associated with significant physical health complications, as well as high levels of shame, guilt and blame. This can prevent people from seeking help early, with most only looking for help after four or five years of living with the condition.
We have provided a grant of £118,495 to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health at SLaM to raise awareness of the symptoms of bulimia. Through the new service, a full time mental health outreach practitioner will build relationships with GPs, schools, community groups, youth clubs and other local services across the boroughs, and provide accessible information to young people and professionals in contact with them via lessons, posters, assemblies and more.
The service will make referrals and self-referrals easier and promote access to existing treatment pathways, with a special focus on young people from ethnic minority groups. It will test new practices which, if successful, could be applied across the country.
By the end of the project, SLaM expects to treat 35-45 young people who have symptoms of bulimia per year. By strengthening prevention and improving access to treatment, the new service also hopes to benefit over 470 local teenagers who may otherwise have developed the condition to chronic levels.
Dr Catherine Stewart, who leads the project, said: “Young people have very clearly told us that we need to be more visible and provide more information for those experiencing symptoms of bulimia nervosa so they can seek treatment earlier. Discussions with teachers from local schools has revealed that staff have great concern about anorexia, which can be a very visible problem, but that they are largely unaware of the difficulties experienced by an equal number of young people with bulimia. This project will ease access for young people with symptoms of bulimia nervosa to existing but currently under-utilised pathways, before the disorder becomes chronic and harder to treat.”
This new grant is part of our ongoing support for mental health care.
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