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Eating disorders advice from Beat: opening up dialogues with young people

27th February 2017

Beat is the UK’s leading eating disorders charity and is the only nationwide organisation providing information, support and help to people affected by eating disorders. The charity’s activities are centred around raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders. To raise awareness of Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017, Beat, an online safety partner of Impero, have written this guest blog offering eating disorders advice designed to help education staff open up a dialogue with a young person about this sensitive issue.

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that can affect anyone of any age, gender, or background. They include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder, as well as eating disorders that do not entirely match the diagnostic criteria for these, but are equally serious. These may be diagnosed as “Eating disorder not otherwise specified” (EDNOS) or “Other specified feeding or eating disorder” (OSFED).

Eating disorders can develop as a result of a huge number of factors. Many, including bullying, peer pressure, troubles with friendships, and stress, can be found within the school environment. New students may be vulnerable, as times of upheaval like moving schools can also play a role.

Behaviour such as missing meals or purging may be more easily carried out at school than at home, and some warning signs might come through in school work or behaviour. For example, personality traits often associated with sufferers of anorexia include perfectionism, need for control, and hyper-sensitivity to criticism. Anorexia may impact concentration and decision-making, and all eating disorders can cause tiredness, depression, and anxiety. This doesn’t mean everyone with these traits has an eating disorder, and not everyone with an eating disorder will exhibit these traits. However, these are things you can look out for, along with the terms that could be flagged by Impero’s software.

The sooner someone gets the help they need, the more likely they are to make a full recovery. Talking can be an essential first step, and the person’s community often plays a big part in helping them get better.

 

Approaching someone you’re worried about

 

When speaking to the student, here are some key things to remember:

 

Supporting a student with an eating disorder

Often students undergoing treatment are still able to attend school, and there are things that should be done to ensure they are safe and comfortable:

 

Other resources where you can find eating disorders advice from Beat

Beat, the UK’s eating disorders charity, is a good starting point if you want to learn more or if you want to provide a student with information and support. As well as their website, Beat’s resources include:

 

Impero’s partnership with Beat

Impero partnered with Beat over four years ago and, since then, have worked together to continually develop, improve and refine Impero’s keyword detection library based on the issue of eating disorders. The keyword detection functionality available in our flagship solution, Impero Education Pro, scans for any instances of keywords, terms, phrases, abbreviations or acronyms that may indicate potential risk; screen captures or video recordings of any flagged activity, along with a glossary definition, help staff to put the incident into context in line with the student’s wider online and offline behaviour.

If Impero Education Pro helps identify that a child possibly has an eating disorder, then the advice and tips provided by Beat above may help to open up a dialogue with the student around this sensitive issue.

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