Social Connections in Eating Disorders Recovery

We are delighted to be partnering with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) to co-host a day-long event to showcase NTU research on social connections and eating disorder (ED) recovery.

The contribution made by group memberships to Eating Disorder Recovery is not well understood and consequently, they are an under-utilised resource.

NTU research and First Steps ED decades of service support experience informs us that sharing a social identity with others (e.g., peers and family members) benefits health and well-being, and when supported with education and skills development can lead to sustained self-care.

NTU’s own findings have been used to promote the inclusion of peer support in Ireland’s National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders.

Whilst First Steps ED was recognised by NHS England, Integrated Personal Commissioning in 2017 for its trailblazing Befriending service for its ability to sustain recovery in ED sufferers and support carers securing the HSJ Value Award for Supported Self-Care.

While support outside the therapeutic milieu is critical to ED recovery, health professionals’ capacity to facilitate this is often compromised by the focus on physical safety.

We hope that this event will:

(1) raise professional awareness of the important relationship between group memberships and ED recovery, and

(2) facilitate the co-production of guidelines for best practice on incorporating social groups into treatment pathways.

The event will be co-chaired by First Steps ED (who support and deliver eating disorders services to people and families in the East Midlands).

NTU have extensive links with support organisations and clinicians and will invite representatives from these to the event.

The morning session will comprise talks from NTU academics as well as representatives from First Steps ED peer support services.

The afternoon will comprise a plenary session whereby attendees respond to academic discussions in roundtable discussions. These discussions will be written up as a policy document providing recommendations for including group-based support as part of the ED care pathway.

We intend for this event to broaden the reach of our joint work nationally in order to consolidate and upscale our associated impact case study.

We will gather evidence of any post-event changes in attendees’ knowledge, policies, and practice.

This co-hosted event supports the School of Social Science goal of reputation enhancement, generating new opportunities for applying social sciences research, and generating impact.

Please contact info@firststepsed.co.uk for further information about this full day event planned for early 2020.

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