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)

Sheryllin McNeil

Psychological Therapies Lead and FREED lead (Birmingham)

Louise Melhuish

Clinical Psychologist and FREED Champion (Hampshire)

Amie Buckley

Psychological Therapist and FREED Champion (Black Country)

Jess Leung

Assistant Psychologist (Black Country)

Rachel Fletcher

Counselling Psychologist in Training (Black Country)

Amy Streater

Mental Health Practitioner (Cambridge)

Gemma Pike

Occupational Therapist, FREED Champion (Norfolk)

Louise Willis-Richards

FREED Champion and Occupational Therapist (Cornwall)

Katherine Webley

Nurse Therapist / Non-medical Prescriber and FREED Champion (Derbyshire)

Beth Wilks

FREED Champion & Occupational Therapist (West Essex)

Kim Flockton

Clinical Team Leader (Hull)

Charlotte Terry

Eating Disorder Family Practitioner and FREED Champion (Hull)

Laura Mumford

Eating Disorders Therapist and FREED Champion (Leicestershire)

Ellie-May Watkins

Assistant Psychologist (Leicestershire)

Charlotte Long

Senior Eating Disorders Practitioner & FREED Co-ordinator (Lincolnshire)

Uma Patel

Eating Disorder Service Lead / Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Liverpool)

Hannah Gordon

FREED Champion / Clinical Psychologist (Liverpool)

Mike Lewis

FREED Champion / Specialist Nurse (Liverpool)

Siobhan Connor

Psychological Therapist and FREED Champion (Manchester)

Magdalene Sampson

Clinical Psychologist/Acting Clinical Lead (Greater Manchester)

Zoe Tsivos

Clinical Psychologist/FREED Champion (Greater Manchester/Salford)

Angelina Baslari

Counselling Psychologist / FREED Champion (Greater Manchester - Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale)

Catherine White

Senior Specialist Nurse & FREED Champion (Kent & Medway)

Lucy Owen

Counsellor & FREED Champion (SET CAMHS, Essex)

Sinead Smithson

FREED Champion and Specialist Mental Health Nurse (Nottinghamshire)

Sarah Biddell

FREED Lead (Somerset)

Dominic Hiles

Principal Clinical Psychologist (Somerset)

Kirsty Manning

Counselling Psychologist / FREED Champion (South-West London & St George's)

Claire Killengray

Mental Health Practitioner / FREED Champion (Surrey & Borders)

David Tate

Senior Eating Disorders practitioner & FREED Champion (Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys) / Project Lead FREED, AHSN NENC (Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear)

Tracy Teng

Principal Clinical Psychologist / Clinical Lead (West London)

Rashmeet Gupta

CBT Therapist and FREED Champion (West London)

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