Tel: 08500 1 22 555

Parent Helpline: Option 1

Sufferer Helpline: Option 2

Self-Harm Helpline: Option 3

Helpful Do's & Don'ts

We have much advice and many suggestions we can discuss with you personally to suit your particular situation and we have many good publications that enable us to help you further.

Here are some main points to consider:


  • Empathise with them – be clear that you understand how they feel. 
  • Let them correct you if they feel you have not quite understood
  • Let them talk
  • Try to focus on how they are feeling, NOT on what they are or are not eating
  • Help find a way that they can see their GP.  Perhaps it would help if you made the appointment, went along first alone and then went with them – or even if you spoke for them.
  • Emphasise that you are in this with them and that you will work with them to help them to feel better and happier.


  • Issue ultimatums (e.g. "if you don’t go to the Doctor I will tell your teachers/friend/husband/wife what is going on")
  • Tell lots of people unnecessarily
  • Use emotional blackmail (e.g. "Do you know what this is doing to me?")
  • Get caught up in endless arguments about issues surrounding food and weight – for example whether they are or are not fat, whether eating certain foods would or would not make them fat.  It is pointless and will probably just end up with both of you frustrated, upset and fed up!
  • Focus on food and weight too much. For example, make sure you talk about recovery in terms of how they are feeling, and how they are coping with their life rather than in terms of normalising eating, stabilising weight or putting weight on.
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