Eating disorder service FREED supporting young people in Stockport launches

Oakwood Psychology Services, Stockport’s NHS adult community eating disorder service has launched a new programme to provide rapid access to support for young adults aged 18-25 with an eating disorder in Stockport.

Eating disorders cause serious physical and mental health problems which can last decades and lead to significant disruption for young adults and their families. The First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED) model provides rapid access to high-quality care for people in the early stages of illness when treatment is most likely to be effective.

Health Innovation Manchester is supporting the roll-out of the FREED model within Greater Manchester, including the launch at Stockport. Young adults in Stockport with eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, are set to receive early intervention with the launch of the new service. This will be embedded within their service for all adults with eating disorders in the borough.

FREED candidates are contacted for an engagement call within 48 hours, initial consultation within two weeks with treatment beginning as soon as two weeks later.

Service Director Gabriel Wynn said: “We’re excited to launch the FREED model. It will make a difference to young people and their families at a time of significant transition. Addressing issues early on is crucial as it is associated with better outcomes for young people.”

CBT therapist Radost Ruseva is Oakwood’s FREED Champion, responsible for setting up and running the pathway. Radost brings prior experience in managing early intervention counselling services for children and young people to help emerging adults have a better chance of full eating disorder recovery.

Stockport is one of many new sites across the country as part of a nationwide roll-out of the FREED model supported by NHS England and Improvement.

The FREED project builds on a successful model shown to help 16-25-year-olds in London. It was developed in 2014 by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. A follow-up study on FREED, published in October 2020, showed that patients who were treated for anorexia nervosa via FREED had better clinical outcomes compared to patients treated via standard care pathways.

The nationwide roll-out of the early intervention programme aligns with the commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to improve access to adult eating disorder services.

The Stockport team hosted a Halloween-themed party on the 27th of October to celebrate the launch with guests invited to wear spooky fancy dress.

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