If you are currently feeling suicidal or are worried about somebody else, click here for information on how to get support in a mental health crisis.

What is a Mental Health Crisis?

Having a mental health crisis can mean different things to different people. It’s important to remember that mental health issues are not cookie cutter, and that they can vary. They can include: 

  • Having suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide;
  • Doing something that might put yourself or someone else at risk;
  • Having an episode of psychosis that is different or more severe than previous episodes that you or someone you care about might suffer with (or if you/they have never had one before).

There are times that friends and family can help you when you feel you are in crisis or are heading in that direction, so always reach out to someone around you, but it is important to understand when and where to get support from professionals if you need them, and who to go to. 

How do I get help? 

Firstly, it’s incredibly brave of you to get this far. Asking for support is not a weakness, and requires a lot of strength from anyone who feels they are in crisis. 

There are various avenues you can go to for help, from the NHS, to counsellors and charities. This will explain the routes you can take so you can make a choice about what you feel is best. If you are already under the care of a counsellor or the local crisis team it can be a good idea to start with them but don’t delay seeking help if there will be a delay in speaking to them. 

NHS Crisis Teams

Crisis teams are nothing to be scared of, even though the name might sound a little daunting. They are part of the Mental Health Services provided in your area, and the NHS hopes to have one in every area of the UK by 2021. 

They can do plenty of things to support you including prescribing emergency medication, arrange regular check-ins to make sure you or the person you are helping are doing OK and help you to organise longer term support. You can find the number for the one in your area through 111 or from your GP.  

Counselling services

There are sure to be plenty of counsellors or counselling services in your area that cater to different specialities, issues and budgets. You may find it is quicker to get an appointment from a private practitioner, meaning you will have to pay. However, if this is an issue for you then you can refer yourself or get a referral from your GP for NHS counselling services. There may be a waiting list for these and the length of wait time varies from area to area. 

If you feel you cannot wait to talk to someone, try to get an emergency appointment with your GP, contact your local NHS crisis team or a charitable organisation in the meantime. 

Charitable organisations

There are lots of charitable organisations that work with mental health and are great at dealing with a mental health crisis. You can download a list here of numbers and links that can support you – keep it on your phone in case you need it. 

999

You might feel like dialling 999 is not for you, but emergency services regularly respond to mental health crises. 

If you feel like you are at serious risk of harming yourself or others, dialling 999 is the best option. If the operator feels there may be additional danger, a police officer may come with them to do a welfare check; this is basically checking that you are safe. The key thing is to not be scared. Everyone is there to help you or someone you care about, and these people have the training to keep you and those you love safe. 

How do I get help for others? 

You can use any of the services above to help a person you care about who is having a mental health crisis. 

Alternatively, you can also take them to your local A&E department in your local hospital. 

You can also go to your GP for yourself or for someone you care about, and ask them what the best course of action would be. It is likely they will arrange a phone call for you or your relative where you/they will be asked about what symptoms you/they are experiencing and they can assess the need for treatment, counselling, medication and more. 

What do I do if I struggle to get help?

Sometimes, local mental health and medical services can be busy and oversubscribed. This does not mean that you don’t deserve help or that you should give up seeking it. You can talk to charitable organisations any time, and they will offer an ear of support during a troubling time. 

Equally, there are private counselling services that are usually less oversubscribed than free ones, and some will offer really flexible rates in order to make sure that no one falls through the net. Google something like “low cost counselling in (your area)”  to see what’s available in your area and find one that suits both your needs and your budget. Most counselling / therapy practices will not mind you asking if they provide this or if they know someone locally that does.  

Remember, we are always here to help if you need us. Head over to our Mental Health Hub for more support advice, or our Community for 1 to 1 confidential support. 

It’s okay to feel scared

If a mate tells you suicide is on their mind it can feel very scary. Remember this is a normal human feeling. We want our friends to stay alive and having this kind of conversation can feel very scary for everyone, even me, and I’m a counsellor! You don’t have to hide that you’re scared, as showing your emotions will show your friend how much you care.

It’s okay to not know what to say

Not knowing what to say is a very human response. You are very likely feeling a lot of different emotions in that moment, like shock, fear and sadness. It’s good to remember, though, that there’s no perfect script of what to say.

Listen

Try to focus on listening. Your friend has told you this so it’s likely they want to tell you more about how they’re feeling. By listening, you show you care and your friend may well feel less burdened with this secret.

Believe them

It’s a myth that people who talk about suicide are not serious. However, although most won’t actually act out their thoughts, their feelings of wanting to die could be very real. 

It’s not your fault

Don’t blame yourself if you’ve had an argument. We’re not responsible for other people and how they might react. People often think about suicide when loads of things have gone wrong all at once and they’re finding it difficult to cope and see a future. So it’s very likely there’s more going on in your friend’s life than just that one thing. 

A part of your friend wants to live

The fact that they’re confiding in you means a part of them wants to live. Your friend has some hope left to live and just needs some help to build up that hope.

You are not alone

It’s okay to reach out and get support for yourself at this difficult time. You’ve probably heard of the free helpline The Samaritans, but did you know they also support people worried about someone else who is thinking about suicide?

The Samaritans (open all day every day): call free 116 123

Help is Available 

Help is available for your friend. Try to encourage your friend to talk to more people so you’re not both isolated with this. Remind your friend that they could talk to their GP or mental health worker (if they have one) or try to get some counselling. You may want to offer to go with them to an appointment with a professional. There are also loads of free resources online. Some free resources include:

Papyrus
Prevention of young suicide, for the under 35s
www.papyrus-uk.org

Stay Alive app
www.prevent-suicide.org.uk/find-help-now/stay-alive-app/

CALM helpline (The Campaign Against Living Miserably)
https://www.thecalmzone.net/

Image of the author, Chloe Foster

Chloe Foster has a background in working in mental health and youth work. Today she runs Sussex Rainbow Counselling where she specialises in counselling LGBTQ clients online.

Chloe holds a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapeutic humanistic counselling from The University of Brighton. She is also an approved accredited registrant member of the National Counselling Society, and an accredited gender, sexuality and relationship diversities therapist with Pink Therapy.
Website: www.sussexrainbowcounselling.com

Panic attacks can be really scary, especially when you don’t know what to do when one creeps up on you. We understand it’s not always easy to think clearly during a panic attack, but knowing a few basic things could help you overcome one faster, or help a friend who is having one. If you ever get one, try to remember these 10 super simple things to do during a panic attack.

Download these tips here and keep it somewhere safe to use when you need it.

1. Breathe

Breathing during a panic attack is really important because the feelings of panic can heighten if you breathe too quickly. So breathe slowly. If you are having one now, take a look at the GIF below and try to breathe in as the circle expands, and out as it gets smaller.

 

2. Sit down

When you have a panic attack you can feel very spaced out, everything can seem surreal and out of touch. It can feel like you aren’t real and everything is far away. So you need to sit down and try and keep as still as you can without stressing yourself out more.

This way things will seem much less intimidating as you won’t have the added anxiety of trying to hold yourself together when you’re feeling unsteady. Panic attacks can last for up to an hour, so you never know how long they may last. Make sure you’re sat down, that way you’re safe and as comfortable as you can be in the circumstances.

girl, lady, female, palm trees, jumper, blue skies, sunset, dusk, dawn

3. Have some water

This will help make you feel better because you’ll be focussing your mind on holding a bottle and drinking! Not only that, but water will hydrate you and make you generally feel better by giving you something to focus on that will help to keep you grounded.

4. Take yourself out of your head and try and bring yourself into reality

Panic attacks can be because of loads of different things, but usually panic attacks come with negative thoughts. So if you try and bring yourself out of your head and into reality this may help lessen the panic feelings. It’s easier said than done but try and remember that everything is OK. You’re just thinking these scary thoughts in your mind and whilst they feel very, very real, a panic attack doesn’t cause any physical danger – it just feels like it is.

girl, female, lady, beach, view, foggy, blue shirt

5. Look around you and do the 5 senses check – what can you hear, taste, see, smell and touch?

This one really works wonders and helps bring you back into reality. So place yourself in your surroundings and observe. Firstly, what can you hear? What can you taste? What can you see? What can you smell? What can you touch?

6. Think of things which make you feel happy and peaceful

Take yourself to a happy place. Whether it be a happy memory or a place you know and love. It’ll help calm you down. If you can’t think of a real place then use your creative imagination to think up any calming scene imaginable… Think of lying in the warm sun on a white sandy beach with the sound of waves lapping up on the shore.

beach, sea, waves, crashing, empty

7. Don’t judge or entertain your thoughts

Just let them be and think of your thoughts like leaves passing down a stream. Watch them as they pass through your mind. In one side and out the other… If you judge your thoughts it’ll cause more anxiety and panic feelings. So just let them be and don’t judge.

8. But also recognise what might have triggered your panic attack and what is causing you this distress

Despite not entertaining the negative thoughts, it’s also important to acknowledge what might have triggered the panic attack. This way you may be able to address some of the deep rooted issues causing your panic and anxiety.



9. Talk it over with someone when the panic attack is over or another time when you’re feeling ready

You can chat to a close friend, partner or trusted adult like a parent or teacher. You can also go and see your GP about panic attacks, who might be able to recommend some stress coping techniques and possibly some further support. If these are not an option for you, then you can talk to one of our mentors on the Ditch the Label Community here.

10. Rest up after as it can knock the life out of you

Make sure that after a panic attack you take it easy. They are very scary and can make you feel very upset for a while after the panic attack has passed. So don’t try and rush back into getting on with things, take your time and only continue with your day when you feel ready.

Take a look at some of our other stuff on stress, anxiety and more below:

Feeling lonely is normal. Especially in 2020. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and being locked away in our bedrooms for most of Spring, and big changes to the way we can see our friends and family, loneliness is on the rise. In fact, in our latest Annual Bullying Survey, we found that 82% of you felt lonely at some point. Not only that, but 42% of those who felt lonely, felt so mostly in their own homes. So we’ve written a quick guide to combating loneliness at home.

When others are at home with you, try to spend time with them

It can be tempting to spend a lot of time in your room when you feel down, and feeling lonely can make us feel more depressed and anxious about spending time with people. Try to break the cycle by making yourself go and spend time with the people you live with, even if it’s just for a ten minute chat whilst the kettle is boiling. 

Organise a film and pizza night once a week with the people you live with

If the people you live with are really busy and not around too often, ask if they would be interested in keeping one evening free a week to hang out. Watch movies, eat good food or just have a catch up over a cup of tea. Whatever it is, having one thing a week in your diary will give you something to look forward to and bring you closer to those you live with.

If you don’t get on with who you live with, try to think about why, and see if you can solve it

If you don’t get on with your family, why not try using the fact that you are having to spend more time at home to solve that problem? We know it can be hard, especially when we feel like we are in the right and making the first move can feel like admitting defeat. But trying to sit down and have an adult conversation with whoever it is you don’t get on with will benefit all of you in the long run. You could get a family member, mutual friend or trusted adult to act as a mediator between you, and see if you can both find some common ground. 

Want to know more? You can download the full report here.

Don’t over schedule yourself

It might sound contradictory, but trying to fill your time with everything under the sun is not a good way to stop yourself feeling lonely. In fact, you’ll probably find that as soon as you are alone and have a moment to yourself, those feelings are a lot worse. Instead, have a nice balance, and then you will have the opportunity to start learning how to be alone without feeling lonely. 

Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely 

Try to get good at spending time on your own. Save some of your favourite things to do for the time you know that you’re going to be alone so that it can become something you look forward to, instead of something you dread. 

Need some more? Read these:
Feeling Lonely During Lockdown? Read This.
7 Tips to Combat Loneliness

And if you need someone to talk to, we are always here. Reach out to our community here for free support and advice. 

You’re cancelled. 

‘Cancel culture’ is something we are all familiar with, whether it’s happened to you, or someone you follow in the public eye. For those that don’t know what it is, ‘being cancelled’ refers to the way in which media personalities are called out for mistakes on social media, often made many years ago. But it’s not just one person, and usually results in a digital witch hunt until their career or lives are destroyed or worse. 

Even though cancelling someone might start with good intentions, perhaps to stand up for what is right, or to make people reconsider their mistakes, so often it can end in tragedy. We only need to remember the tragic events that resulted in the death of Caroline Flack, to realise that something has to change in the way we react to the mistakes of those in the public eye.

We want to lead the charge against ‘cancel culture’. That’s why Ditch the Label is thrilled to announce our new partnership with international makeup brand, P. Louise. To kick it off, this is the story of their new collection ‘Cancelled’ from the founder and CEO of P. Louise; Paige. 

Get your hands on the limited edition collection here.

The story of Cancelled – by Paige Louise 

First of all, many people have assumed the collection portrays my own personal mistakes and faults which have been highlighted to the media and the public. The truth is that Cancelled is not about my previous mistakes but cancel culture, cyberbullying and how social media can quickly turn toxic.

I want to make it clear that the release of this collection is not to undermine my past mistakes. In fact, I want to take this chance to apologise again.

I cannot rewind time but I can strive to know better, grow and be better. 

Life is a process of learning and unlearning. Being truly sorry means showing up, even when it makes you uncomfortable. It’s about turning the fear of criticism and disapproval into change – and I am committed to that process. 

Understanding where you go wrong in life and accepting your mistakes is important, but so is shifting your relationship with criticism. I’ve taught myself that it’s important to embrace it – criticism means there’s an opportunity to do more learning and allow for more understanding.

However, the Cancelled collection goes far beyond my personal mistakes and errors. It goes without saying that nobody is perfect, humans in general are a fundamentally flawed species. But ‘cancelling’ someone won’t help them grow and humiliating someone won’t help them become better. 

The detrimental effect that trolling has on people can lead to anxiety, self-doubt and sometimes sadly, even suicide. Comments that you may think are irrelevant, such as what dress a person is wearing or what lipstick shade they’re rocking, can be impactful to a person.

What may not affect you, may affect someone else immensely. 

With Cancelled, I want to highlight that no matter the circumstances you are in, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Together we will tackle cyberbullying and make social media a happy and positive environment, which is why I am thrilled to announce that a percentage of profits made by the Cancelled collection will be going to Ditch the Label, to support those who have been through cyberbullying. 

Love, Paige x

People are human. Media personalities, instagram influencers, celebrities, are human. And humans make mistakes sometimes. We should all have the opportunity to learn from them, grow from them, and educate others on those lessons, and most of us are lucky enough to be able to do that in relative privacy. Those in the public eye do not have that privilege. If we cancel everyone who makes a mistake, all we do is ruin careers and ruin lives. 

We need to cancel our ‘cancel culture’.

Click here to get your hands on the limited edition collection

Check out these articles for more:

Being kind is more important now than ever before. The news is all pretty much doom and gloom, and we’ve all been through a lot in 2020, and it’s only November.

Being kind doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to come in the form of some out of this world grand gesture (we’re not saying it can’t either).

Kindness can be something so small that just puts a smile on someone else’s face, because even the tiniest bit of kindness can make a difference.

So, here’s a list of 25 small acts of kindness that you can do to help us in our mission to make the world a better place.

  1. Make someone a cuppa
  2. Donate to an organization
  3. Check in on a friend
  4. Ask people how they really are doing
  5. Smile at someone in the street
  6. Volunteer somewhere that needs help right now
  7. Help out a neighbour
  8. Send someone a little gift to let them know you are thinking about them
  9. Comment something positive on a post
  10. Reconnect with someone you’ve lost contact with
  11. Leave a happy note for a loved one to find
  12. Gift someone something small
  13. Pet a doggy (safely)
  14. Clean up without being asked
  15. Share the kindest thing someone has done for you on social media to inspire other people to take up the mission of #choosekindness
  16. Send a letter for no reason to someone you love 
  17. Pay for the next person’s drive through/coffee/cake or shopping
  18. Be better to the planet and try out a waste-free day or week
  19. Support a local or small business
  20. Design or make something that will show someone you care 
  21. Tell a friend they can always talk to you if they need to 
  22. Encourage others to choose kindness with you on social media 
  23. Tell someone you love them for no reason
  24. Leave a positive review of a business or service you’ve used 
  25. Send someone to our website for support and advice on all kinds of things that they might need help for.

And there you have it – 25 small acts of kindness that could make someone’s day.

Give one of them a go and join in the #ChooseKindness movement. For more information, check out the hub here.

When you are having a tough time, asking for help might be the last thing you want to do. Society has spent years telling us that when things go wrong, we need to have a stiff upper lip and just carry on, because someone somewhere in the world probably has it worse. 

Well we think that’s total crap. So here is why asking for help is always a good idea. 

A problem shared is a problem halved

Even if you don’t think the person you are talking to can do anything to help you, talking will make you feel better. Sure, it might not bring you a solution, but at least you won’t feel alone in this. Having someone to go to when everything hits the fan is good for all of us. 

All problems are relative

It might be that you haven’t asked for any help yet because there is someone in your life who you think has it worse, and making a fuss seems selfish. Let us tell you, this is NOT TRUE. All problems in the world are relative to how we usually live our own lives, and whatever is going on with you should never be compared to someone else. 

You don’t know what’s around the corner

Have you ever heard that saying – “when it rains, it pours”. Well although we can never tell what’s going to happen in the future, there’s always a chance that something else can go wrong. We aren’t saying this to make you feel worse, but it’s a good reason to ask for help now. If you feel like your plate is already full, then the next thing that comes along could leave you feeling a hell of a lot worse. So ask for help now, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

Someone will have a different perspective 

Sometimes, when we are really close to a situation, we can’t see the wood for the trees. Everything can feel so much worse, and we can catastrophise everything and pretty soon, everything can feel like it’s never going to get better. Asking a friend for advice or help can bring a fresh set of eyes to the situation, and they might be able to help you see that this might not really be as bad as you think it is. 

Or can just give you a chance to relieve some stress

It’s been proven that sharing your thoughts and feelings about whatever is making you stressed or anxious can help relieve that anxiety, even if the problem is still there. If something makes you feel better in the short term, it’s always worth giving it a go. 

Or they might know exactly how to help 

Whether they have lived this before, or know where you can go for more support, advice and even answers, you never know what another person can do to help you unless you ask them. Simple as that. So give it a try, you never know what they might be able to do to make things a little easier for you.

If you feel you need help, you can reach out to our community here, for confidential support and advice.

We can’t lie, times are tough for everyone. Whether you’re getting bogged down with politics, coronavirus, or literally just life in general, it’s perfectly normal to feel like you’re struggling with your mental health.

You’re probably feeling fed up and like you’ve tried loads of things to make it better which haven’t worked. 

However, we want to know, have you tried a gratitude diary? If not, here are all the great things you need to know about them ☺ 


What is gratitude?

In a nutshell, gratitude basically means being thankful and ready to show your appreciation for absolutely ANYTHING.

What are the benefits of gratitude? 

Psychologists have been researching gratitude diaries for years now and the studies often suggest they may play a part in:

  • Improving your mood and making you happier overall
  • Making you feel more connected to people 
  • Giving you a more positive outlook on life 

What is a gratitude diary and how do I do it?

So, are you still interested? If so, great! Gratitude diaries are really easy to keep and people all over the world love them. 

To keep a gratitude diary, every day or every couple of days, you can make a list of at least two/three things that you’re grateful for. You can write this down or keep it in your head, heck, you could even draw them!

People usually find it best to do this at the end of the day. You can write down just a short sentence if you like (people tend to find it easier when they keep it short!). If you want to do more, you could write down why you are grateful for whatever you’ve listed. 

When you’re listing what you’re grateful for, try to write down different things each time. You might find this easy at first, but as time goes on, you’ll probs find it harder. The aim of writing different things is that you have to really dig deep to see what you’re thankful for.

By doing this, we begin to notice and appreciate more and more positive things. For example, at the beginning, you might say more general things like ‘I’m grateful for my family’ and ‘I’m grateful for my friends’, and then, as time goes on, you might focus on really small things like ‘I’m grateful that I didn’t stand on that snail on the way to school’ and ‘I’m glad that my friend had a spare pen for me in class’. 

Do you see what we mean? As time goes on, we become more positive and grateful for our lives. We look to the tiny little things that we probably wouldn’t have noticed before. When we are grateful, we are happy ☺

By the way, with a gratitude diary, you probably won’t see the effects of it for a while and this is perfectly normal. It can often take a while to see how helpful a gratitude diary is, so it’s important to stick with it. They are more of a long-term thing.

Why don’t you give it a go for a month and let us know how you found it in the comments?

Talking to someone you love about something difficult you are going through is never an easy conversation. We all want to keep those we care about free from pain, and if we feel like we are the ones that are going to be causing it, opening up can be an extremely tough ask. 

Whilst this is true for anything that you might be going through, dealing with an eating disorder is tough, and helping family and friends to understand is important for your recovery. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to help you open the conversation.

Pick a safe space to have the conversation

The most important thing before having a conversation like this is to choose a place where you feel comfortable enough to have it. It could be around the dining table, in your bedroom, or even out in nature, as long as it’s in a place where you feel calm. 

If you need to, have the conversation side-by-side

Talking about the issues that affect us can be really daunting, and starting this conversation is always challenging. It’s often the thought of looking at someone’s face and their reaction that puts us off. Instead of sitting opposite who you want to open up to, try sitting side by side, or going for a walk whilst you discuss it. If this feels wrong, you could try writing it in a letter, or even simply connecting with them via Whatsapp or another messaging platform. All means of opening up to someone have their pros and cons, but the important thing for you is to start it any way you feel most comfortable. 

Make sure they are in a position to hear what you have to say 

Not everyone in your life will be a good person to go to with something like this. Have a think about if you know someone who you’ve confided in before, or who you might have heard talking about similar issues in a sensitive way. Going to someone else you know is currently dealing with a similar thing might not be a good idea, as it could be triggering for both of you. Instead, perhaps someone has recovered from their eating disorder, or they are simply a good friend to you. If no one in your life feels right, there are plenty of helplines you can use, a list of which is at the bottom of this page. 

Be prepared for questions 

It is likely that whoever you choose to speak to, they will have some questions for you about what you’re going through. If you feel like you can’t answer them, the best thing is to be honest. It could also be that they might jump into overdrive trying to get you help. Understand that this is coming from a good place, a place where they want to help. If you feel like it’s too much, share that with them. Perhaps suggest taking a break from the conversation and doing something else until you feel ready to talk again.

… And for emotions

It might be that the person you are talking to blames themselves for your condition, or reacts poorly to your current situation. It’s important for you to remember that it is no one’s fault, and you cannot help how someone reacts to what you have to say. It’s understandable that this could make you reluctant to tell someone else, but you shouldn’t feel like you can’t. Take a bit of time to regroup after a difficult conversation, and have a think about who else in your life might be better placed to understand what you are going through.

Have a conclusion ready 

A conversation such as this could have the ability to drag on for a while, especially when there are lots of questions and emotions involved. If you don’t feel like that is something you can manage at the moment, have a conclusion to the conversation ready. Whether that is saying you want to find help, or you simply are grateful for them for listening but you need to take a break from talking about this, it will help you to know before jumping in that this uncomfortable situation won’t last forever. 

If you need any further help, reach out to us 

We are always here. If you need further support, you can reach out to our community here for confidential support and advice. 

Alternatively, you can seek specialist support at the BEAT Eating Disorders helpline, on 0808 801 0677 or beateatingdisorders.org.uk  

Eating disorders can be tricky to handle. If you have one, or know someone who does, it can be tough to know what’s happening or sort fact from fiction. There are lots of things that we often automatically think are true about eating disorders that actually are not, and there lots of different types that can affect people differently. So we wanted to bust some myths around disordered eating so that you feel more informed, and can ask for help

Myth 1: It’s only girls that get eating disorders

Anyone, regardless of gender, can develop an eating disorder. Whilst young women aged between 12 and 20 are the most likely to develop an eating disorder, because most people think it’s just for girls, a lot of cases in guys will go undiagnosed for longer. Talking about having an eating disorder is hard for anyone, but when you are part of a minority within the group, it can be even harder.

Myth 2: It’s only teenagers that get them too

Like we said above, anyone can develop one. Just because they are more common in younger girls does not mean that you can’t get one as a 23 year old man, a 9 year old, or any other age. Mental health issues do not discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity or religion, and anyone can develop any one. Because a lot of society thinks that it’s only young girls developing eating disorders, a lot of those dealing with them in older age brackets struggle to get the support they need, or face further stigma for developing a mental health condition usually associated with young women. 

Myth 3: It’s a behaviour you can choose not to do

No one chooses to have an eating disorder. In the same way we don’t choose to develop depression, catch a cold or anything else related to our health, eating disorders are mental health issues that need to be treated. 

Myth 4: You have to look a certain way to have an eating disorder

A big misconception with eating disorders is that you have to look a certain way before it’s classed as “real”. As with any mental health issue, eating disorders come in stages, and the earlier one is caught, the more quickly someone will be able to overcome it. Of course, this means that you might not fit the stereotypical image of someone with an eating disorder. But that does not make you any less worthy of help and support. 

Myth 5: Eating disorders are easy to overcome alone

The best thing to do if you think you or someone you know might be dealing with an eating disorder is to ask for help. They are difficult to handle, and can be complex to try to defeat for good. Going to a parent, friend or trusted adult is a great way to start the conversation and they might be able to direct you to the support that’s needed. 

Myth 6: It’s only an eating disorder if you do certain things

There are lots of stereotypes around eating disorders, but a key one is that you only have one if you excessively exercise or binge and purge. In fact, there are lots of different ways disordered eating behaviours can manifest. For example, it could be that these things only happen intermittently, or for short periods of time. These are classed as an OSFED, or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder. People suffering with an OSFED are just as worthy of treatment as anyone with typical anorexia or bulimia. 

Myth 7: Asking for help is a sign of weakness or failure 

It is really important to know that no matter what you are struggling with, asking for help is NEVER weak or a sign of failure. If you don’t feel like you have anyone in your life you can talk to right now, or you’re worried about upsetting them, you can come to us. Reach out to our support community here, and we will listen to you. 

If you have been affected by any of the information in this article, you can reach out to our support community here for free confidential support and advice. 

For more information on how to deal with mental health issues, go to our Mental Health hub for all the information you need.