The ArgusNew eating disorder support service targets men and carers (From The Argus)

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New eating disorder support service targets men and carers

A new drive is being launched to provide extra help for people suffering from anorexia or other eating disorders.

The Peer Support Service will target three separate groups – men, women and carers.

This comes as the latest figures available show hospitals in Sussex dealt with emergency cases of food problems, including anorexia and bulimia, 95 times over a one-year period – a rise of almost a third.

Most cases were younger women and teenagers, with some coming in more than once over the year.

The new support group is being run by Brighton-based charity Men Get Eating Disorders Too, the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Brighton and Hove Carers Centre.

Men Get Eating Disorders Too founder and director Sam Thomas said: “Too often, sufferers and their carers feel unable to seek support due to the barriers faced.

“By creating safe spaces for those in need, we hope that those affected will not have to suffer in silence or get to crisis point before the seek help.

"Watching the effect of an eating disorder on a loved one can be extremely distressing; it is difficult to know what to do and how to react or where to turn.

It is expected the peer support service will address this gap in provision."

Renate Pantke, consultant clinical psychologist at Sussex Partnership said: "For some years we have been working together with our partners in the NHS commissioning group towards improving services for people with eating disorders.

"We are delighted that we are seeing this come to fruition in the developments of the peer support groups as well as the extended Brighton and Hove Eating Disorder service (BHEDS).

"BHEDS offers interventions to adults with eating disorders of any level of severity. Our close links with the peer support groups will reduce isolation in those affected by eating disorders and facilitate access to treatment."

The groups are designed for adults over the age of 18 from the Brighton and Hove area. They will be held on a monthly basis, meeting on weekday evenings from this summer.

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect 1.6 million people in the UK as well as their friends and family.

Anyone over 18 from the city who are affected by eating disorders and problem eating are eligible to be part of the support group, whether or not they are already having counselling or other therapies.

The monthly sessions are due to start in the summer.

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