This information guide is intended for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms.  If you, or someone you know, needs support with mental health problems, in the first instance you should contact your GP. If required, your GP can then refer you to Mental Health Services in your local areas. If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, you should get immediate expert advice and assessment. It is important to know that support is available.


If you, or someone you know, needs urgent help or is in crisis, call NHS 24 on 111. If you just need to talk with someone, there is help available. The Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call them on 116 123 (freephone) or email: jo@samaritans.org. Breathing Space offers a confidential phone line for anyone in Scotland feeling low, anxious or depressed. You can call free on 0800 83 85 87.

Children and Young People

Specific early stage interventions for children and young people with eating disorders, a recently developed set of supports from the UK's Eating Disorder Charity - Beat have been made available in Scotland. Beat has set up an online support group The Nest, and moderated message boards.

Early stage support is also available via CARED – SCOTLAND. This package is designed for parents and carers of young people (aged up to 25) who have recently received a diagnosis of an eating disorder and are about to or have just started treatment. The package is not an independent treatment model, but rather is designed to complement existing evidence based treatments provided by specialist eating disorder services.

Self-Help for Children & Young People

Beat UK's Eating Disorder Charity - Beat

Online Support Group The Nest

Support for Families https://caredscotland.co.uk

Adults - What is an Eating Disorder?

There are many types of “eating styles” and habits that can support us to stay healthy. However, there are some that are driven by an intense worry and fear about our weight that can affect our health. These are the conditions we call Eating Disorders.

Eating disorders involve:

- eating too much

- eating too little

- using harmful ways of getting rid of calories. 

However, there is more to eating disorders than the eating behaviour. People with eating disorders find themselves checking and worrying about their weight constantly and finding ways to avoid taking in calories or to burn them off.

There are two main Eating Disorder; Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. But they are not the only ones, and is common for somebody to move from one to another or experiencing both in their lifetime.

The NHS website provides an overview of most common types of eating disorders, their signs and symptoms, as well as some information on how to get help for eating disorders for patients and carers.

Self-Help Resources

UK’s eating disorder charity Beat website is full of resources including helplines, chatrooms, self-help, carer support and additional information on local ED services.

You might find it helpful to have a go-to list of ways to distract yourself from the urge to use eating disorder behaviours - Blast Distraction Techniques

SOLACE is a free, online support group offered by BEAT for anyone supporting someone with an eating disorder. There are 7 sessions per week that run at various times to suit all and each session is booked individually so carers/loved ones can attend regularly with the same group or as a one off. 

Support for men with eating disorders - Home (malevoiced.com)

Help and support for under represented populations - FEDUP | Fighting Eating Disorders in Underrepresented Populations: A Trans+ & Intersex Collective

Local Support - SupportED - The Community Eating Disorder Charity

Get Support Now A life buoy at sea

Some people find that talking with friends and family about their feelings can be a real source of support for coping with distress or suicidal thoughts. It might be helpful for them to map their support network and think about people they could call if their feeling suicidal. Other people may prefer to seek more professional support or call a helpline such as Breathing Space, Samaritans or Shout.

  • Breathing Space: Call 0800 83 85 87
  • Samaritans: Call 116 123
  • SHOUT Crisis Text service also available 24/7 Text SHOUT to 85258

For some people they may be finding it difficult to cope and may think of ending their life, if you are concerned about your mental health and wellbeing, you can contact your G.P. within opening hours. If you feel you are in immediate danger, please call 999 for assistance.

Last reviewed: 17/11/2023

Next review date: 15/03/2024

Approved By: NHSGGC MH Supported Self-Management App Editorial Group

Reviewer name(s): NHSGGC MH Supported Self-Management App Editorial Group .