What is FREED?

FREED is designed to give young people rapid access to specialised evidence-based treatment and support tailored to their needs.

Eating disorders aren’t just about food

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FREED is First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders. It is a service for 16 to 25-year-olds who have had an eating disorder for three years or less.

Young people getting help for their eating disorder through FREED are given rapid access to specialised treatment which gives special attention to challenges we know young people face during these years of their life, and in the early stages of an eating disorder.


FREED is a flexible evidence-based treatment approach focused on early intervention; making it much more effective than traditional treatments at reversing the changes to brain, body and behaviour caused by eating disorders.



The FREED service was developed and tested by the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust Foundation’s Eating Disorders Unit and King’s College London. When FREED was compared with “business as usual”, FREED reduced the amount of time an eating disorder was left untreated. FREED patients waited less time for assessment and treatment and had better treatment outcomes. Most made a full recovery from their eating disorder within one year. Using the FREED service was a positive experience for patients, carers and staff.


FREED confirmed that treating people as early as possible leads to better results for eating disorder treatment.


In 2016, FREED was introduced to three new eating disorder services in the UK. In 2018, FREED is being introduced to eight new services. By 2020, we hope that at least 20 services will be using FREED. Work is also being done to establish FREED in Australia.


People sometimes ask why FREED is only for those aged 16 to 25 with an eating disorder of up to three years. If someone has only been unwell for a short time treatment seems to work better. This is most true during adolescence and young adulthood. People with eating disorders also experience changes to their brain, body and behaviour. In the first three years of illness these changes are more easily reversed.


Eventually, we hope that everyone with an eating disorder will be able to access tailored, specialist treatment quickly. FREED is one step towards this goal.

“If it wasn’t for FREED’s rapid intervention, I would not have been well enough to pursue my dream of going to university. It makes me emotional to think how much my life has changed in one year of treatment. The steps have been small, but each step has brought me closer to, as well as made me feel I am worth, recovery.”


FREED service user


The FREED team

Ulrike Schmidt

Professor of Eating Disorders, Consultant Psychiatrist and FREED Evaluation Lead (Kings College London)

Danielle Glennon

Clinical Lead/Principal Psychotherapist and FREED Service Lead (Maudsley)

Karina Allen

Principal Clinical Psychologist and FREED Network Lead (Maudsley)

Giulia Di Clemente

Senior Counselling Psychologist and FREED Network Coordinator (Maudsley)

Amanda Davey

Clinical Psychologist & FREED Champion (Maudsley)

Katie Richards

FREED PhD Student (Kings College London)

Vicki Mountford

FREED Consultant

Mary Franklin-Smith

FREED Creative Lead (Maudsley) and FREED Service Lead (Leeds)

William Rhys Jones

Consultant Psychiatrist (Leeds)

Karen Williams

Clinical Nurse Specialist and FREED Champion (Leeds)

Nicole Nunnes

Clinical Nurse Specialist and FREED Champion (Vincent Square)

Gabrielle Brady

FREED therapy lead (Vincent Square)

Alice Coddington

Consultant Psychiatrist (Vincent Square)

Frances Connan

Consultant Psychiatrist (Vincent Square)

Sheryllin McNeil

Psychological Therapies Lead and FREED lead (Birmingham)

Alison Hemphill

Clinical Pathway Lead (Birmingham)

Dan O'Mara

Clinical Team Manager (Birmingham)

Dominic Hiles

Principal Clinical Psychologist (Somerset)

Sarah Biddell

FREED Lead (Somerset)

Ian Lea

Eating Disorder Service Lead & Consultant Family Psychotherapist (West Essex)

Beth Wilks

FREED Champion & Occupational Therapist (West Essex)

Sarah Jarvis

FREED Psychotherapist (West Essex)

Debbie Whight

Clinical Team Manager (Leicestershire)

Cheryl Logan

FREED Champion and Eating Disorders Therapist (Leicestershire)

Siobhan Connor

Psychological Therapist and FREED Champion (Manchester)

Eleanor Reed

Counselling Psychologist and FREED Champion (Manchester)

Rachelle Smith

Clinical Psychologist (Manchester)

Amie Buckley

Psychological Therapist and FREED Champion (Black Country)

Fiona Clements

Counselling Psychologist in Training (Black Country)

Rachel Buckley

Specialist CAMHS Practitioner (Black Country)

Sinead Smithson

FREED Champion and Specialist Mental Health Nurse (Nottinghamshire)

Sarah McDonald

Clinical Psychologist (Nottinghamshire)

Jo Lewis

Specialist Mental Health Practitioner (Nottinghamshire)

Uma Patel

Eating Disorder Service Lead / Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Liverpool)

Hannah Gordon

FREED Champion / Clinical Psychologist (Liverpool)

Mike Lewis

FREED Champion / Specialist Nurse (Liverpool)

Dr Caroline Haig

Clinical Psychologist (Sussex)

Nicola Gilbert

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Dr Helen Startup

Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Sussex)

Magdalene Sampson

Clinical Psychologist/Acting Clinical Lead (Greater Manchester)

Zoe Tsivos

Clinical Psychologist/FREED Champion (Greater Manchester/Salford)

Louise Willis-Richards

FREED Champion and Occupational Therapist (Cornwall)

Marilyn Conroy

Lead Specialist Dietician and Interim Service Manager (Cornwall)

Gemma Pike

FREED Champion (Norfolk)

Jessica Delany

Clinical Support Worker (Norfolk)

Daiva Barzdaitiene

Clinical Psychiatrist (Norfolk)

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