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Thinking differently about mental health and wellbeing

News & Stories

15 August 2017

Swansea University researchers looking for help from people who are friends and family of someone with an eating disorder

Eating disorders have many serious risks to people’s health and wellbeing, and have more deaths than any other mental illness. But, because of some of the problems at the healthcare interface, people may not get the help they need fast enough, or well enough. This is a big problem! Other research studies have told us that early diagnosis and treatment for eating disorders can really help improve people’s health and wellbeing. So, this may be an area that needs change, but first, we need to know what changes, if any, would be helpful.

Researchers from the Swansea University Medical School have been funded by Health and Care Research Wales to study this issue, in partnership with Gofal. This research is looking at different types of experiences and opinions on the way eating disorders are dealt with and treated across different types of healthcare settings. For example, in primary care (e.g., school counsellor/nurse, practice nurse, GP) and secondary care (e.g., mental health or eating disorder teams). “We are very interested in looking at the interaction and communication going on between these types of healthcare – this is called an ‘interface’. It is what happens at this ‘interface’ that we suspect may cause problems, especially when treating people with eating disorders”, said Clinical Associate Professor Jacinta Tan, who is leading this study.

“We are looking to talk with people who are close to someone with an eating disorder, such as family, partner or friends to hear about their experiences and opinions of the primary and secondary interface for eating disorders. So, for this part of the study, we are calling for people who are close to someone with an eating disorder to take part. The study will be a range of group discussions, known as ‘focus groups’. We only ask you to take part in one group discussion,” said Gemma Johns, the research assistant working on the study.

The findings from this study will help the researchers to make good recommendations to health professionals to help change the way eating disorders are recognised and treated across the interface in the future.

Volunteers will be reimbursed for their time and travel expenses. At the end of the study the team will share their findings with any participants who wish to know the results and copies of any publications.

If you would like more information or wish to take part in this research, please contact Gemma Johns or Jacinta Tan on 01792 513289 (If the line is busy or unavailable, please leave a message on the answer machine and the researcher will call you back) or email Gemma.Johns@Swansea.ac.uk or j.o.a.tan@swansea.ac.uk.

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