The Health Foundation’s Shine programme provides teams with resources to develop and evaluate innovative ideas to improve quality of care. The eating disorder teams at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and King’s College London (KCL) Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences were delighted to secure a 2014 Shine award, providing vital funding for a first-phase evaluation of FREED.
Eating disorders are severe mental disorders with peak onset in adolescence/early adulthood. Early effective intervention within three years of onset is essential for preventing eating disorders becoming chronic and treatment-refractory. However, a key barrier to this early effective treatment is poor knowledge of how and when to access to services.
The teams at SLaM and KCL have investigated whether a novel First Episode and Rapid Early Intervention Service for young people with an eating disorder (FREED) can shorten the duration of untreated eating disorders and waiting times, and improve outcomes.
The intervention was developed for young people (18–25) who have had an eating disorder for less than three years. The service, which was embedded in a large NHS specialist eating disorder service for adults, involved a rapid screening and assessment protocol, evidence-based guided online and manualised self-help interventions for patients and carers, and an implementation toolkit for staff.
Professor Ulrike Schmidt, Consultant Psychiatrist and FREED Evaluation Lead
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