A new BBC documentary fronted by presenter Zara McDermott features patients and experts at South London and Maudsley discussing a new service that has helped thousands of people with an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that involve disturbed eating or weight control behaviours and extreme concern about eating, weight or shape. Eating disorders cause significant distress to those struggling with them – but they are treatable with the right help. Evidence suggests that the earlier the eating disorder is treated, the better the outcome is for the person affected .
Filming took place at Maudsley Hospital with people who are receiving care from the FREED (First episode Rapid Early intervention for Eating Disorders) service, and experts working in eating disorders.
FREED is an innovative, evidence-based care package designed for 16 to 25-year olds, who are the age group at the highest risk of developing an eating disorder . FREED provides rapid access to treatment and tailored treatment to the specific needs of young people and their families.
Originally developed at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and King’s College London, the Health Innovation Network and Academic Health Science Network have since supported Mental Health Trusts across the country to adopt FREED. More than 2,000 young people nationally have benefitted from the service since 2020, with an initial evaluation suggesting FREED can reduce waiting times by 32% for assessment and 41% for treatment .
Giulia Di Clemente, Senior Psychologist and Charmaine Kilonzo, Psychology Practitioner, Eating Disorders Service said:
“We want to encourage everyone who thinks they may have an eating disorder to seek help, as it is possible to get better. Wherever someone may be on their journey, there is hope and help out there. Thank you to Zara for coming to visit us and spending time with people who have used our services.”