There's a lot you can do to support a family member with an eating disorder. These practical ideas - for mealtimes in particular - may help you and them on the road to recovery
If someone you know - perhaps one of your children, or another close family member - has an eating disorder, it's important to encourage them into treatment as quickly as possible to ensure the best chance of recovery.
But beyond that, there's a lot you can do to support them, no matter what your relationship with them. Below are some ideas on how you can do this, both in and around mealtimes - which are likely to be very hard for the person you are supporting - as well as at other times. Remember that each person is different and will need different things.
Outside of mealtimes, there are lots of ways to support someone and show them you value them. You may find that their eating disorder causes them to withdraw, but keep inviting them to join in with group and family activities.
Offer compliments that don't relate to their physical appearance, these can sometimes be interpreted negatively - for example, "You're looking well" may sound like a comment on weight. Compliments on things other than appearance can help the person feel valued and is less likely to cause these worries.
Try and to find things to do with them that don't involve food. Don't be too critical of yourself if you do make a mistake - you can't always account for things the person you're supporting might feel sensitive about, and you'll be aware for the future.
Whether you live with the person you're supporting or not, just being there for them and showing them you understand this is not their fault and believe they are worthy of support will make a big difference.
And once they're in recovery, make sure that they feel able to approach you again if they need to in the future - full recovery is completely possible, but relapses are not uncommon.
For more information visit beateatingdisorders.org.uk
Support is also available via Beat's Helpline on 0808 801 0677