Our award-winning Specialist Eating Disorder Service (SEDS) at Forward Thinking Birmingham, the city's 0-25s Mental Health Service, hosted a recovery party earlier this year for those affected by eating disorders in the community.
The event, which was funded by our Trust charity, brought together individuals with lived experience to share their eating disorder recovery journeys. The day was structured to support discussion around the key elements of Recovery; what it takes to achieve it and how others have got there. A key aim was also to give hope to everyone who attended.
Kirsty Stapledon is a Peer Support Worker on the SEDS team was part of the group who organised the event. Our charity funded Peer Support Workers use their experiences of eating disorders to support young people in the service
Kirsty said: "It is so important to celebrate recovery with our service users, so they can acknowledge how far they have come and be proud of themselves for that.
"It also gives hope to others who may not have found recovery yet, by showing them that recovery is possible and that there are many people who live happy, fulfilling lives away from the grips of an eating disorder."
The event hosted several inspiring talks from parents and individuals affected by Eating Disorders, including Anny Johnson, Public Speaker and Author, who spoke about her experiences with an eating disorder. The event also included talks from professionals such as author of the CHIME model of recovery Dr Mary Leamy, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at Kings College London.
Jessica Sharman, another Peer Support Worker on the SEDS team, said: "For me, the recovery event felt extremely rewarding and full of messages of hope and compassion.
"By talking about recovery, you show that recovery can be reality one day, even when it's hard to imagine. It helps us inspire and empathise with those who might be earlier on in their recovery journey.
"As someone who has recovered from an eating disorder and now works in a lived experience role, it felt very healing and rewarding to be able to give back.
The event received excellent feedback, with the majority of attendees agreeing they found the day very helpful and would attend again.
Kirsty added: "I think it would have been really inspiring to attend an event like our Recovery Party when I was in treatment, as it brings together a positive community of people who all have shared understanding and goals, and I think that would have made me feel really motivated and less alone in my struggles."
Dr Sheryllin McNeil, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and SEDS Team Lead, said: "What really shone through the event was the power of hope. The feedback from those who attended only served to confirm how important it is for young people to hear that recovery is possible.
"There is lots of talk in the media and on social media about recovery, however, the fact that we were able to hold this as a face-to-face event meant that we were able to illustrate that not only is recovery possible, but it is real!"
Several partner organisations, such as Shaw Trust, Pause, Taste Life UK, Better Pathways, Birmingham Mind and the West Midlands Adult Eating Disorders Provider Collaborative, joined the SEDS team to offer support and resources to help those in recovery.
Throughout the day, we interviewed attendees and organisers, including Anny and Jessica, about the event. Watch the full video on our Trust YouTube channel.
This event was made possible by our Trust Charity. Find out more about our charity and how to donate on its website.