Beat on the Ground

Tackling eating disorders in your community

Beat on the Ground is a new approach to tackling eating disorders in your area, equipping healthcare and education professionals, empowering those affected, and informing the community about these serious mental illnesses.

We know that treatment at the earliest opportunity, aided by an empowered and informed support network, is essential to a full and sustained recovery. But this relies on many factors that aren’t guaranteed: key professionals who know what signs to look for and how to respond to them, appropriately involved carers with the skills to support recovery, and a community that treats those suffering with compassion and understanding.

Beat on the Ground aims to address all of this and more. Will you help us?

“The power to beat eating disorders is in all of our hands, from the school teacher to the friend, the parent to the GP.” James, campaigner.

We need every teacher to ask the right questions

“Teachers are not trained to pick up eating disorders and so may not be able to reach out to vulnerable students and encourage them to seek support.” Dr Sandeep Ranote, Medical Director, North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

With school, college and university students so vulnerable to developing eating disorders, increasing the knowledge of staff, who are well placed to spot the early signs, is essential. Beat on the Ground will provide every school within the community with training for at least one staff member. Staff who can see when students first begin to struggle and know how to approach them in a sensitive and supportive way will be better able to encourage them and their loved ones to seek appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

We need every GP to refer patients for specialist treatment without delay

“When I first visited a GP, I was diagnosed with body dysmorphia and told to use less make-up and stop looking in the mirror. That did nothing to address the underlying emotional issues driving my eating disorder…” Katherine.

GPs are often the gateway to treatment, so it’s important that they understand what to do for a patient who could have an eating disorder. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence advises that GPs refer patients with suspected eating disorders for specialist assessment and treatment immediately. Beat on the Ground will inform GPs about increased activity on and awareness of eating disorders in their community, and equip them with the knowledge they need to provide their patients with the best possible care.

We need every parent and carer equipped with skills to support a loved one with an eating disorder

“When my daughter fell ill, my wife and I had no idea what to do. We didn’t know how to support her or how to avoid making it worse. We were all permanently on edge and meal times became a battleground. This put a huge amount of stress on our family.” Nick, father and co-creator of Beat’s Echo telephone peer coaching programme.

When someone develops an eating disorder, the people close to them often don’t know why it’s happening or what to do about it. The evidence is clear that having an empowered and informed support network makes it much more likely that someone will have a full and sustained recovery from their eating disorder. Beat on the Ground will encourage treatment services to appropriately involve and inform those supporting people with eating disorders, as well as providing carers with support through peer-to-peer telephone coaching, advocacy services, and training.

We need awareness among the general public of the signs of an eating disorder and where to get help

“It took years to explain that I wasn’t just greedy, and my problems were emotional. I want to see people able to get help when they need it, and I want it to be easier to identify all kinds of eating disorder.” Andy.

It can be hard to recognise when someone has an eating disorder, and even harder for those suffering to share their concerns with others. But this is easier in a more compassionate and informed community. Through awareness campaigns, news stories, information access and talks from those with lived experience, Beat on the Ground will provide the public with more opportunity to learn about eating disorders, recognise the signs, and give those suffering the support they need.

And we need you

Beat on the Ground can be applied to communities of any size – we’ve secured funds to deliver Beat on the Ground in both the borough of Tunbridge Wells (population 116,100), and the region of Yorkshire and the Humber (population 5.3 million). But we want to run it in lots of other communities too – including yours.

Can you support Beat on the Ground in your area? To start making change, we need just £5,000. Call us on 01603 753335 or email fundraising@beateatingdisorders.org.uk to find out more.