Early Intervention Strategy

Early Intervention Saves Lives

The evidence could not be clearer: early intervention is crucial to a rapid, sustained and full recovery.

Why is this? The existing recommended therapies are more effective at an early stage of an eating disorder’s development, and individuals can better engage with treatment.  

Right now, we are letting people with eating disorders down. They are turned away by the health system, told they aren’t ‘ill’ enough for treatment and are confused about where to turn. This can’t continue.

We wouldn’t let a physical health issue get out of control before an individual could access treatment – why is this the case for mental health?

We must halt eating disorders at their first signs, before they become entrenched.

Together we can make a difference – join us in our early intervention strategy and change the lives of people affected by eating disorders.

Beat's vision for early intervention

Beat is the UK’s eating disorder charity. We exist to end the pain and suffering caused by these serious mental illnesses, and are a champion, guide and friend to all affected by them.

Our vision is a society where fewer people suffer eating disorders, where people with eating disorders experience care and understanding, and where they can quickly access treatment that supports a rapid and sustained recovery.

Over the next five years we will make dramatic progress towards that vision. We will increase ten-fold the number of people helped by our services to 60,000 every year, we will increase our influence four-fold by reaching over 500,000 people a year with a message of hope and recovery, and through powerful campaigning we will ensure that political and practical change takes place to help those that need it most.

Early intervention is central to this vision. By focussing on early intervention we can ensure that more people than ever recover from eating disorders and that we can make the biggest difference to sufferers of this terrible illness right across the UK.

What barriers do we face?

  • Those best positioned to spot early warning signs, such as teachers, don’t have the knowledge to recognise eating disorders – an important first step towards helping sufferers.
  • People don’t know where to turn for help, delaying vital early action.
  • Sufferers are often turned away by the healthcare system, creating an additional obstacle to recovery.
  • Specialist treatment is underfunded and sufferers face long waiting times, giving their illness more time to become ingrained.

How we’ll fix it

We’re putting early intervention front and centre across everything we do to make the biggest difference to the most people.

  • We’ll target schools, training key professionals on how to spot early signs of an eating disorder so that sufferers can get help as soon as possible.
  • We’ll refocus our helpline, encouraging and supporting people to take the steps they need to access early treatment.
  • We’ll equip sufferers and carers with the tools and information they need so that they are less likely to be turned away by their GP when taking brave steps to access treatment.
  • We’ll campaign for policy geared towards early intervention, and for better funding for earlier and more accessible treatment.

For more information about how to help Beat, please call 0300 123 3355, or email info@beateatingdisorders.org.uk.

Garfield Weston

The Garfield Weston Foundation – supporting the transformation phase of Beat’s early intervention strategy.