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Changing perceptions of eating disorders in Dorset

24/06/15

The number of teenagers admitted to hospital with eating disorders, has nearly doubled in just three years. Two new videos aim to raise awareness of the impact of eating disorders on those affected by the conditions and their families.

Healthwatch Dorset have teamed up with Bournemouth University and Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust to produce videos to raise awareness and reduce stigma about eating disorders.

The videos feature people from Dorset speaking about their experiences of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, and their recovery – alongside friends and family talking about how they were also affected.

How did the video come about?

We gathered feedback about child and adolescent mental health services that suggested that we should do a project on eating disorders, focused on hope and recovery. We thought that developing a video would also provide us with a useful resource for our work with local schools.

How did you develop it?

The collaboration worked really well, we've worked with Bournemouth University before on a video project called 'Living Well with Dementia in Dorset'. For this collaboration, we part funded the project and found people who are affected by eating disorders who were willing to take part in the videos, as well as promoting and supporting the launch event. Bournemouth University took the lead and organised the filming and video editing with support and additional funding from Dorset Healthcare. 

What difference will it make?

Collectively the videos have already had over 3000 views on YouTube which is fantastic. We hope that the videos will raise awareness of eating disorders and give hope to people that it is possible to recover and lead a normal life and that there are people who can support you through that process.

We want to reduce stigma about talking about eating disorders, and give positive messages about recovery.  By using real people’s experiences of having an eating disorder, we hope it will encourage others to come forward who may be suffering in silence.

We’re also running a survey which aims to look at people’s experiences to establish whether watching either of these videos has started to change or reinforce existing attitudes towards eating disorders.

What feedback have you had from public so far?

We unveiled the videos as part of Carer’s week at Bournemouth University to a packed audience of mental health professionals, service users and carers and received a really positive response. People have told us that they were shocked by some of the statistics included and found the videos powerful, informative and emotional. We’ve also had comments from people saying that they will find the videos a useful resource for their work, meaning our messages will be shared further – which is really fantastic news.

The two videos – called Realising I have an eating disorder and Recovering from an eating disorder: hope, strength and life - are available to view on the Bournemouth University YouTube channel.

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