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Befriending

Our befriending service provides regular, long-term peer support connecting adults who are currently recovering from an eating disorder or eating distress with trained volunteer befrienders who have recovered.

  • Have you recently been diagnosed with an eating disorder, or become aware of problems around food and eating?
  • Do you find it hard to open up to friends and other people in your life, as you don’t feel that they understand?
  • Are you feeling isolated, lonely, or overwhelmed?

If any of this sounds familiar, and you are over 18 with a BMI (body mass index) of 17 or above, and really ready to engage in recovery, then you are eligible to apply for a Talk ED Befriender.

We have temporarily paused new applications due to high demand, while we seek and train more befrienders. If you would like support from our team in the meantime, you can book a 1:1 support call or join one of our online peer support groups.

How befriending works

When you are trying to recover from an eating disorder it’s often hard to believe that you will ever get through it. The negative feelings and disordered thought patterns are difficult to challenge, and you might feel that they will always be there. Whilst support from family and friends is an important part of recovery, sometimes it can feel difficult to share the challenges you’re experiencing with those close to you. At times like this it can be really helpful to be able to talk to someone who truly knows what it’s like to be working towards recovery.

Through weekly telephone calls over six months, a Talk ED befriender can support your journey by:

  • offering real hope and encouragement from a place of empathy and understanding
  • providing practical guidance and coping strategies to manage fear and anxieties related to food and eating
  • helping you to make small, positive changes towards recovery, including eating well again

You’ll work together at your own pace on several agreed goals around self-esteem, isolation, food and eating, to measure the progress you are making.

Why do we have a minimum BMI criteria?

The befriending service is designed for people in the earlier stages of an eating disorder, and ready to actively work on recovery.

If your BMI is below 17, the ability to rationalise thoughts, or challenge your eating disorder behaviour is more difficult due to the body being underweight.

Our befrienders are volunteers who have recovered from eating disorders themselves, and are willing to support their befriendee to help them along their journey of recovery. They will provide a listening ear and guided support because they really do understand. However, this is not a counselling service or therapy and they are not acting in a professional capacity.

Apply for a befriender

Please check back regularly for updates on when we are able to receive applications.

Q&A with a Talk ED Befriender

Sarah’s Story: How befriending helped me during my recovery from bulimia

Would you like to become a befriender?

Have you recovered from an eating disorder and would like to use your experience to become a befriender and help someone struggling to recover?

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Are you worried that you, or a loved one may have an eating disorder? Our Peer Support Team have lived experiences of eating disorders and recovery.

To talk to someone who understands, book a 1:1 support call, we’re here to help.

Book a call