Who Are First Steps ED?
First Steps ED are a specialist eating disorder charity based in Derby, operating throughout the Midlands. They are here to provide hope, opportunities and choices to lives affected by eating disorders.
Founded in 2004, the team are passionate about offering a service which is inclusive, understanding and non-judgmental, believing that support should be available for all those affected by eating difficulties and disorders regardless of age, gender, belief or background. As well as recognising the impact of an eating disorder is often felt not only by the person experiencing it but also by their support network.
These principles of equality and diversity underpin their person-centred, service user led approach to mental health, alongside their core values and passion for what they do.
Here’s what a service user had to say about their journey with First Steps ED:
"First Steps have provided an exceptional level of support throughout my journey towards recovery. Their outstanding services have enabled me to become increasingly confident with my relationship with food and life itself. I cannot applaud First Steps enough."
How Did First Steps ED Support Those Struggling With an Eating Disorder During the Pandemic?
The impact of the pandemic on mental health is unmistakable. Referrals for eating disorder services have increased substantially, something First Steps ED has experienced first-hand with nearly a 70% increase in referrals.
To meet the changing demand for services under lockdown, First Steps ED migrated many of their services online to anticipate any disruption caused by social distancing. The team also introduced a number of new digital support options to address the increased wait times which mental health services across the UK have experienced since the first lockdown. The move to online, and the increased availability of resources opened First Steps ED services to a national audience, benefiting service users who may not have otherwise received support due to increased barriers cause by the pandemic, ensuring that no one was left isolated or alone.
What Does the First Steps ED Charity Do?
As well as supporting service users, the charity is passionate about early intervention and prevention of eating disorders, offering support and training to volunteers, service partners and professionals. First Steps ED work closely with communities and professionals within healthcare and education to ensure people are able to find appropriate and effective support and training, as well as raising awareness of First Steps ED services and how they can help.
Raising awareness of eating disorders and outreach into local communities is crucial. This helps to reduce stigma which is proven to prevent sufferers from finding the help they need to live a life which isn’t defined by an eating disorder. It has been a turbulent year for those struggling with their mental health.
A vote for First Steps ED ensures eating disorder support is accessible and available to all and will help the team continue supporting service users, even during times of uncertainty.
For Further information or to donate, please follow through to their website here: https://firststepsed.co.uk/