PEOPLE who have experience of eating disorders are trying to help GPs treat the illness by providing their perspective on the illness and how best to approach treatments.
Independent mental health charity, The Consultation and Advocacy Promotion Service (CAPS), have brought together people who have previously suffered form eating disorders to create an information pack for GPs.
The information pack has been designed to help GPs by giving them a greater understanding of eating disorders from the perspective of people who have experienced them.
The project, which will launch this spring, has been funded by See Me- Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination- who hope that t it will lead to a greater recognition of eating disorders and provide early intervention for those who go to their GP for help.
As well as information for GPs the pack will also contain posters and leaflets for surgeries. These will contain information about how the disorders can affect people’s lives, along with contact information of local supports and stories of recovery.
The programme is building a movement of people and organisations all over the country, like CAPS, who are taking action to help end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with poor mental health.
Niamh Allen, from CAPS, said: “Currently there are not many resources for people with eating disorders to access and waiting lists for specialist treatment are very long.
“What we produce will make a significant difference to people who go to their GP for help, in recognising the illness and raising awareness of it as a mental health condition.
“Early recognition and treatment is vital but not happening. Usually the GP is the first point of contact for someone with an eating disorder so it is vital for the GPs to know how best to approach and treat them.
“People have told us of GPs lack of understanding and empathy in working with people who contact them for help.
“There is also no plain English, easily read, written information for people to take away and look at.
“We hope this project will reduce stigma amongst the general public about eating disorders and also reduce self-stigma.”
Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, said: “We are passionate about ending the stigma and discrimination that is unfairly attached to having a mental health problem.
“To do this we want people, groups and organisations from all over Scotland to come together and take action and challenge the issues where they see them.
“Eating disorders are widely misunderstood and occur for a variety of reasons and we hope this work from CAPS will make a real difference to the lives of people experiencing eating disorders.
“We are delighted to support this project looking to educate GPs and the public on eating disorders, helping to reduce the stigma that people unfairly face when they are unwell.
“It is especially relevant that we are talking about these issues this week, during National Eating Disorder Week.”