Support Groups and How They Can Help

Anyone with an eating disorder will tell you how much courage it can take to confide in somebody about their difficulty.

Such complex struggles are often so hard to explain and there’s always a fear it might not come across properly or that someone won’t understand. It can be massively daunting to tell just one person – let alone a room full! So why is group support so successful in aiding and maintaining recovery? And what is it that brings people back time after time to benefit both themselves and the others in the room?

No matter what stage of your recovery journey you are at, the door is always open!

You can attend at any time to either support your current situation or prevent future relapse. That’s the beauty of it – there is no cut-off date, you are welcome whenever you please.

There is a the diverse mix of people that attend.

At First Steps ED, you can join our support groups as both a service user and a carer and still find the content relevant. We will all have our own experiences and backgrounds making the sessions interesting, enlightening and (of course) supportive!

Weekly support can help long-term recovery.

Even if you feel you have achieved recovery (and well done to you if you have), it can be so beneficial to continue to stay in the group setting if that association and supportive environment assists you to not relapse.

For additional guidance and support.

Similarly, if you currently care for someone with an eating disorder, groups are the ideal place to receive guidance and support both for the individual you’re caring for and also self-care for yourselves at this challenging and uncertain time.

Being a part of a community and knowing you are not alone in this.

Feeling integrated in a network of like-minded people who are experiencing the same challenges and achievements as you can be priceless. And if you have a wobble you know they will be there to catch you – like a big security blanket.

Experts by experience and a friendly and welcoming team.

As well as those people attending the groups, there are also the amazing staff and volunteers that run them. They often have first-hand experience of eating disorders as sufferers or carers, or want to support their chosen professional path by gaining knowledge not available elsewhere.  Most can then take that unique insight forward in their careers as an expert by experience and benefit society in the future.

So, how can you get involved?

First Steps run regular support groups for all ages, both online and face-to-face, providing a non-clinical and non-judgemental environment where all are welcome regardless of diagnosis, weight or symptoms. We aim to create a warm, inclusive atmosphere and utilise service user feedback to make sure the group topics are relevant and beneficial to all in the room.

To ensure the mood is light, we deliver each topic sensitively and appreciate that we all need some light relief from our difficulties sometimes. We all listen to each other without judgement, offering support and advice and always leave on a positive note, often feeling motivated to try something new. It really can be a very uplifting and beneficial experience.

If you think you could benefit from support groups at First Steps ED please contact our team today to find out what is available to you.

Contributed by Georgie Lazzari,
PPIE Marketing and Communications Lead