How to Tell Someone You Have an Eating Disorder

Telling someone your concerns about the eating disorder and about recovery can be daunting. This page aims to help you have conversations that will give you the encouragement and support you deserve on the path to recovery.

If you’re not sure who to speak to, think about who you could potentially talk to: trusted friends and family members, healthcare professionals, even teachers or colleagues.

  • Is there anyone you’ve discussed mental health with before, or heard talking about mental health or other difficult subjects in a sensitive way?
  • Is there anyone who might have some personal understanding of eating disorders or other mental health issues, and would be able to talk with you about what you’re going through in a positive way?
  • Is there anyone you’ve been able to confide in before?
  • Is there anyone with whom someone else you know has discussed similar issues?

Thinking about these things might help you identify the best person to tell. If no one you know seems quite right, the Beat Helpline is open every day – our trained advisors will listen to you without judgment. They can help you think about who might be appropriate to approach next, and what you might want to say. We also run online support groups every evening, where you can talk to people in similar situations and find out what worked for them.

If you’d like to speak to a counsellor or therapist, you could also use Beat's HelpFinder, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website or, if you are a young person, The Mix or Youth Access.

Issue date: September 2017  Review date: September 2020 Version 2.0 Sources used to create this information are available by contacting Beat. We welcome your feedback on our information resources.