MyWellbeing College, run by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, will be backing Mental Health Awareness Week, 13-19 May 2019, and is supporting people to tackle difficulties with body image with free courses available through the college.
The awareness week is part of a national campaign, which is organised by the Mental Health Foundation, and the theme for this year focuses on body image and how we feel and think about our bodies. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year, and body image is a factor in this.
Sharon Edwards delivers courses through the MyWellbeing College and said: “We treat people with common mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression who may also experience difficulties with body image and/ or issues with eating, which can include eating too much or too little. Both men and women of all ages can experience these difficulties. People who struggle with poor body image and eating difficulties can often feel isolated and misunderstood and we aim to help people manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviours more effectively.”
MyWellbeing College offer free online courses that help people in Bradford, Wharfedale, Airedale and Craven to develop a positive body image that can be sustained over time.
The MyWellbeing College is open to anyone over the age of 16 who is registered with a GP in Bradford, Wharfedale, Airedale or Craven. People don’t have to go through their GP to enrol on a course, they can register online at www.bmywellbeingcollege.nhs.uk or give the enrolment team a call on 0300 555 5551 to chat through the range of options available.
The Care Trust also recently launched a new children and young people’s community eating disorders service, Freedom Team, to help young people get the help and support they need to tackle an eating disorder.
Dr Nicky Dawson, Freedom Team Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist said: “Early diagnosis and treatment is vital. By helping young people when the problem first arises we aim to significantly reduce problems before they become more challenging or remain with young people into adulthood.”
The effects of an eating disorder can be devastating for both the young person and their family, causing in some instances serious long-term and even life-threatening health problems.
Twenty-two-year-old Hazel knows what it’s like to struggle with an eating disorder, having suffered from anorexia before her family encouraged her to get help. Over two years later Hazel is using her own experience to encourage other young people to get help.
Hazel said: “I suffered from anorexia between the ages of 15 and 20.” At her lowest weight, Hazel did not perceive herself to have an eating disorder. Hazel explained: “I always felt fat and hated my body. I also found myself looking on social media platforms at other people who were really thin.”
Hazel has tackled the issue and come through the other side; she’s at the University of Leeds, studying for a degree in Environmental Sciences and has a bright future ahead of her. On overcoming the eating disorder, Hazel said: “I feel very proud. I feel like I got really good care from the service and have benefitted from it so much. I think I would have been lost without it.”
The Freedom Team offers support to young people, under 18 years of age, and their families living in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale or Craven. The service, based in Keighley, is available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.
To find out more about support available through the Freedom Team visit the website at: www.bdct.nhs.uk/services/freedom-team/