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12 February 2024

FREED launches online training resources to ease transition from child to adult eating disorder services

The transition from child to adult services can be complex and challenging for young people and eating disorder professionals. FREED have launched a new set of online learning resources, designed to help clinicians and other professionals navigate this time.

A person typing on a computer

Whilst the transition from child to adult mental health eating disorders services can be challenging, it can also offer opportunities to take a fresh approach to someone’s treatment and care. Identifying this, FREED (First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders) has launched online learning resources for professionals to be able to offer improved support during this time. The modules are free to access and can be found on their website.

Building on existing guidance from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and designed in partnership with service users, carers, academics and clinicians, FREED – a collaboration between South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), King’s College London (KCL) and the Health Innovation Network South London (HIN) - has developed a new suite of online learning resources to support ED professionals to understand the issues, risks and opportunities involved in age-related service transitions. These resources are intended to support professionals to work with their colleagues in their service settings to deliver safe, effective and empowering transitions for young people and their families.

The resource consists of five learning modules for ED professionals covering topics including:

  • Understanding the risks and opportunities of age-related service transitions;
  • Understanding the pros and cons of different service models (e.g. all age services) in relation to such transitions;
  • Developing effective transition plans;
  • Involving parents and carers in transitions and navigating conversations around confidentiality;
  • Helping young people plan for other age-related major transitions such as moving to university;
  • Building strong working relationships between child and adolescent services and adult services.

The training was co-produced with young people with lived experience of transitioning from child to adult treatment for their eating disorder, and launched during Children's Mental Health Week 2024. 

I’ve had the same consultant the whole way through, ever since I was 13. That is key, probably the best thing about the whole experience. It was quite a vulnerable time and I felt listened to. We met with both coordinators for two or three sessions. They were all feeding back (to each other). Communication between CAMHS and adult services is the most important thing and listening to family is really important regardless of whether you are 15 or 25.

Natalie, a service user

The First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED) project was initially developed with South London and Maudsley NHS Trust Foundation’s Eating Disorders Unit and King’s College London support from the NIHR Maudsley BRC as a rapid, specialised treatment for young people (16-25 years) who recently started experiencing eating disorder symptoms. Due to its effectiveness, the NHS provided funding to roll out the programme across England, and it has now supported over 5,000 young people with eating disorders.