Eating Disorders Service
What is the Eating Disorders Service?
The Cornwall Eating Disorders Service is a specialist service offering a community based treatment for adults with a clinical diagnosis of an eating disorder. An eating disorder is a mental health illness associated with a high mortality rate. It can affect anyone at any age and is often more about feelings and emotions than about food.
We cover the whole of Cornwall and our small therapy team consists of Psychologists, Dietitians an Occupational Therapist and Administration.
Our team works with clients and other organisations, including the Integrated Community Mental Health Teams (ICMHT), GPs, the Children and Adolescence Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for those transitioning from children’s to adult services and hospital services. Clients who need to be treated in hospital will be referred to an inpatient unit. There are a number across the country. Our closest is the Haldon Unit in Exeter. At times, we also use the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.
If you are under 18, please visit https://www.cornwallft.nhs.uk/camhs/
How are Referrals made to the Service?
All initial referrals to our service need to go via a GP to the ICMHT. The GP can make a referral to the ICMHT by calling 0845 207 7711 (option 1 for East locality, option 2 for Mid locality and option 3 for West locality).
West – Kerrier, Penwith & IoS
Mid – Restormel & Carrick
East – North Cornwall & Caradon
Or by emailing the referral to:
What Happens after a Referral is made?
Once a referral is made to ICMHT via the GP, you will meet with a mental health professional from within this team. This person will review your mental health and social care needs before discussing treatment options. If an eating disorder is thought likely, a referral will be made to us and an Eating Disorders Assessment will likely be offered with one of our team. The assessment lasts for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. We hold two assessment clinics a month.
What happens after the assessment?
There are a number of treatment options available within our service. These are either combined group sessions or single one to one sessions or a mixture of both. Depending on the outcome of your assessment there treatment options may be:
Support from a Dietitian
Food Choices Group
The first treatment session you will probably be invited to is our Food Choices Group. This is an opportunity for people with Eating Disorders to explore information about food, nutrition and other topics related to weight control with a dietitian in a group setting.
If you are not able to attend the group the information can be accessed by clicking here or using the 'Food Choices Videos' link to the left of the screen. However, we have found that attending the group in person is more beneficial.
Individual Support from a Dietitian
If you are underweight or have other physical health issues alongside your Eating Disorder, the dietitians will offer a dietetic assessment to determine the nutritional adequacy of your diet and offer guidance as required.
The dietitians also offer an agreed number of individual appointments to people who:
- Have attended Food Choices and want to discuss a meal plan
- Are aiming to restore weight
- Wish to discuss knowledge and beliefs around food and nutrition and food rules
- Want support around meal planning, shopping and food preparation
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a supported self-help group which involves exploring the psychological and physiological reasons for eating disorders, the factors that maintain binge-eating, vomiting and/ or laxative use and restricted eating, regular balanced eating, problem solving and the role of body image. This is a two hour session run over 7 sessions/weeks.
Intensive Support Programme (ISP)
ISP is a developing programme aimed at keeping people out of hospital and out of county placements. It is currently provided as one full day weekly intervention, with supported eating being an essential component. ISP is usually run in 6 week blocks with short breaks in between each block.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a participative style group for people with or in recovery from anorexia nervosa who have learnt DBT skills in an inpatient unit or in individual therapy in the Eating Disorders Service. The group follows the DBT format including mindfulness practice, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, radical openness and working on learning and generalising new skills in and out of session. This is a one hour and 30 minute session which runs on a regular weekly basis.
Family Therapy is therapy which involves the client who has an ED and their family. It is aimed at helping and supporting the family. This is usually a 1 and a half hour session and can be a one off session or a series of sessions over a period of time.
The Occupational Therapist uses specialist assessment to identify how an eating disorder is affecting an individual’s occupational performance. Eating disorders can affect all areas of occupational functioning, for instance meal preparation, food and clothes shopping, managing difficult emotions, work/study demands and socialising with friends and family. During Occupational Therapy you will identify areas of your life that you wish to make changes in and work collaboratively with the Occupational Therapist to achieve these goals.
Occupational Therapy can be provided on either a 1:1 basis or as part of a group.
We also offer a wide range of individual therapeutic treatments which are delivered by counselling psychologists, clinical psychologists and occupational therapist. This can range from a few sessions to regular weekly sessions over an extended amount of time. Individual therapy can consist of different therapeutic tools and techniques.
All our treatment pathways are based on the assessment outcome and discussions with the individual involved to make sure their needs are taken into account.
What are your Opening Hours?
The Eating Disorders Service is available 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). An answerphone may sometimes be on during these times, but it is checked regularly throughout the day, so we will call you back as soon as possible.
If you need urgent help outside of these hours, please contact the out of hours mental health services (Support Matters) on 0800 001 4330.
If you are in crisis, please visit https://www.cornwallft.nhs.uk/i-need-help-now
Can I get support anywhere else whilst I am waiting to be seen?
We recommend two websites to support those with an eating disorder and their families, these are:
Centre for Clinical Intervention – this is a self help resource for those suffering with mental health problems, including eating disorders - https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/looking-after-yourself
BEAT – A UK based charity which offers lots of support for those suffering with an eating disorder and their families, including a helpline https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/