Getting Help

Where to get help

It is usually very difficult for people with eating disorders to get better on their own. It is important that you find professional help and support as soon as possible. There are a variety of ways either you, or someone you care about, can gain support and treatment.

Help in your area

To find what help is available in your area you can look through our helpFinder.

Youth Access also has a directory of free counselling and advice for young people 25 and under.

TheSite has a directory of organisations that can help with a variety of issues.

Healthcare Professionals

Doctors can assess your physical condition and refer you to available help. Your doctor may refer you to specialist professionals like psychiatrists, psychologists, dieticians, nutritionists, and counsellors - it may not be possible to access this support without seeing a doctor. You need to feel confident that your doctor understands you and that you can trust them.

If you feel that you cannot talk to your usual doctor, you can usually see another doctor in the same practice or you can talk to someone else in the surgery, such as a nurse or health visitor.

You can contact NHS Direct for details about other doctors and how to move to another practice or speak to the Beat Helpline for guidance.

Family and friends

Family and friends can be of great support in helping people cope with this illness. Beat's experience shows that support from friends and family can really help people to recover even when they are receiving professional help and advice.

Help from Beat

Beat Helpline and Youthline

The Beat Helpline and Youthline is available for confidential support and information for anyone in the UK. The service aims to provide a non-judgemental 'listening ear' to young people who are seeking help to overcome their eating disorder and for friends and relatives. We will not tell you what to do, but it can help to talk things through and come up with ideas and options together.


The Helpline number is 0845 634 1414.  We speak to sufferers, carers, friends, family and professionals. You can email us on if you would prefer.The Helpline is open Monday to Thursday, 1.30pm to 4.30pm.


You can call the Youthline on 0845 634 7650. We are able to call young people back to save your phone bill, but do consider who will answer the phone. We are unable to return calls from outside the UK.

You can send us an email to text us on 07786 20 18 20 (Standard Text Messaging Rates apply) or use our online 1-2-1 service.

The Youthline is open Monday to Thursday 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

Find out more about calling the Youthline here

The Beat Network Self Help and Support Groups

Self Help and Support Groups (for over 18s) provide a place to share feelings with others who have similar experiences. Beat runs groups all around the country for people with eating disorders and their families. 16 years olds can attend a group but must take a person who is over 18 years old with them. This does not have to be a parent/carer, it could be an aunt or older cousin or just a friend. For more information about the Beat Network click here.

Self help books can offer more of an insight into your illness and also offer step by step guidance to help you on the road to recovery. For more info on the books stocked by Beat click here.

Use our online directory to search for help and support.

Live chat
Live chat is like a conversation by email but it is more instant and you chat to all the people in the room. If you have used msn messenger, it is a bit like that. Everything that is posted during the live chat is checked by a Beat moderator first. Click here to find out more.

Share your healthcare experience

If you've experienced health care recently, either as a patient yourself or as a carer or friend of someone else, let Patient Opinion know how it was. What was good? What could have been better?

Your story will be handled confidentially by the non-profit service Patient Opinion. Your story may appear (without your name) on their website. Patient Opinion asks the health service to respond to the feedback you share, but does not reveal your identity.

This service is independent of Beat and the NHS. For more information about Patient Opinion and how your story is handled, visit

  • Helpline
    634 1414
  • Youthline
    634 7650 - Search the web and raise money for charity

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