Review finds Helpline has 'very positive impact' as demand rises

Posted 03/04/2020

In the last few years, we’ve made huge changes to our Helpline services, increasing our hours, adding new ways to get in touch, creating more online support groups, and ensuring our Advisors are equipped to help with a greater range of issues. Since 2016 we have seen support sessions provided rise from 7,000 to 39,000 in 2020. To continue to improve the services we provide, in 2018 we asked independent organisation Fiveways to evaluate the Helpline. Over the following year, they followed up with people who had called, emailed, or used our one-to-one webchat, asking a range of questions about if and how Beat’s services had benefitted them and inviting constructive feedback.

I think the support from the Helpline is fantastic and I don’t know what I’d do without it.

We’re delighted that the final report was overwhelmingly positive. It showed the clear benefits of getting in touch with the Helpline for most of those who took part in the evaluation, with understanding of eating disorders and confidence to seek recovery just some of the areas that changed for the better.

  • 85% agree that their concerns were taken seriously (97% of those only using the phone service).
  • 82% felt supported.
  • 83% of users who discussed next steps with the Advisor they spoke to were clear on the action they needed to take next.
  • 88% of those who took action had found at least one of those actions helpful.
  • 76% of users agree they feel less isolated as a result of getting in touch with the Helpline.

It has changed my life so much for the better. Beat really listen, understand and help so I know I can call them to process difficult emotions and/or triggers without reverting to eating disorder behaviours. It has also enabled me to seek out help and support.

Of those who responded to Fiveways’ initial survey three to four weeks after they’d contacted the Helpline, 71 people also responded to a second survey three to four months after their contact with the Helpline. These follow-up conversations showed the early benefits of using Beat’s services remained or even improved over time – for example, the 79% of those 71 people who said the Helpline enabled them to take action in the first survey rose to 83% in the second survey.

The service you provide is incredible. I honestly do not know where I would be if it wasn’t for the support of the lovely Helpline team. I always come off the phone to the Helpline feeling a sense of relief that I’ve spoken about how I feel and a feeling of empowerment that I do deserve to get help and I do deserve to get better. I have struggled for far too long with this eating disorder and it’s taken the majority of my life away. I’m hopeful of change.

While it’s wonderful to see that Beat’s services are making a real difference in the lives of people affected by eating disorders, we know there are areas for improvement and the report highlighted these as well. The majority of suggestions for ways we could make our Helpline services better referred to the need for longer opening times and shorter waiting times when trying to get through to our team.

The evaluation offers really important insight into the Helpline for us to take forward. We’re both proud of what we’ve achieved and working hard to make the changes still needed to provide the best possible service for those affected by eating disorders.

I have had so many wobbles over the last few months and the Beat Helpline has ALWAYS been there to pick me up and tell me I can do this, and I deserve to get the support.

You can read the full Fiveways report here.

We need your help now more than ever as we face the coronavirus crisis, which has led to both a 30% spike in demand for our services and a serious threat to the funding we rely on to be able to keep them open. Please donate today to ensure that we can continue to be there for people with eating disorders and their loved ones at the time when they need us the most.