‘Sian’ is an 18 year old first year university student who self-referred to the MHCC by email, after feeling desperate and isolated one night and searching online for help. She has had an underweight eating disorder for 5 years and had a bad experience of past treatment, feeling it was too focused on weight gain and not on how she was feeling. She opted to speak first to one of the MHCC’s experts by lived experience for 2 online appointments. She then felt reassured enough to have an assessment with one of the professionals.
After establishing that Sian was significantly underweight, but safe enough physically for community treatment, the pathway started with a plan for a block of 10 sessions of therapy, face-to-face. At a point where Sian was ready, she also had two appointments for dietetic work. Sian was slightly stuck within therapy and unable to commit to change. So the next phase on her pathway was to re-engage with the expert by lived experience for support work for 5 sessions, around confidence being in social situations with food. This support was a mixture of messaging support, using an App for recording thoughts, feelings and eating, and face-to-face sessions focussed around eating in public places. The therapist reviewed progress with Sian after these 15 sessions, getting input from all the members of the team involved in her pathway, and agreed she was ready and motivated to pursue a further block of 20 sessions of therapy and push on with change.
Sian did not want her parents directly involved in her treatment, as things had been difficult at home. However, Sian’s parents were concerned about her and how she was coping, getting in touch with the MHCC when they learned she was getting treatment. Although Sian did not consent to any information being shared with her parents about her care, they were able to join the online aspects of the carer support group, and focus on understanding more about eating disorders and gaining support for themselves about how to cope with their concerns, both from the MHCC team and by connecting with the other carers in the group.