Help is at hand for people who suffer with eating disorders, thanks to a new treatment service run by City Health Care Partnership CIC.
The Evolve Hull Eating Disorder service is located on Beverley Road in Hull in a specially-converted house designed to offer a range of treatments in a relaxed and welcoming environment. With facilities such as counselling rooms, an art room, a relaxation lounge, and a therapy kitchen and eating area, clients can cook and enjoy healthy meals and access individual and group activities.
Nicky Guilfoyle is the Service Manager of Evolve and explains that before the service was established, the lack of specialist intensive services in Hull meant that adults and young people had to travel a long way from Hull to get specialist dedicated treatment. This resulted in some people in Hull with eating disorders getting very unwell and having to be transferred out of area for treatment. Historically this out of area care has been as far away as London and no closer than Leeds.
“If people are a long way from their family and friends it can be hard for them to feel supported and instead they can become isolated. Evolve gives people the opportunity to access intensive support with a range of treatment programmes designed to meet their individual needs. These treatments range from dietetic education to cognitive behaviour therapy, and help to develop a daily routine to give people a sense of purpose and direction in their lives. With a dedicated building we are able to see them in Hull or at home and a range of frequency varying from once a week to every day. This enables people to recover at their own pace.”
Charlotte started her treatment for bulimia and binge eating with Evolve in November 2012. ‘Before I came to Evolve I was lost,’ she says. ‘I didn’t believe there was any way of getting better or helping myself, so I just got on with it and I left it very late to ask for help. I didn’t realise how bad I’d got or how much it was affecting me until I came to the service and it was a real turning point.
‘I was referred to the service by my GP. I’d been a couple of times before and been dismissed, but this time I saw a different doctor and, more importantly, the service was here to help me.
‘I had 12 one-to-one sessions with Debi Lawson, an eating disorder practitioner, over about six months and she helped me to help myself. She gave me the tools but I still had to go out and use them. I used to feel silly if something was bothering me, so I squashed it to the back of my mind and ignored it, but Debi helped me to talk about it instead of dismissing it and it was so good to have someone listening who really understood.
‘I still have bad days but I’ve come to terms with that and I can manage better now with the skills I’ve been taught. I do have binges but they last a couple of days instead of months, I understand my own thoughts better and I feel more in control.
‘I wish I’d got help earlier, not wasted 10 years struggling to cope on my own. The first step is admitting you need help; once you’re here at Evolve, you feel so comfortable. The service is very personal and I didn’t feel nervous, I just felt at home and like I could say anything I wanted without being judged.
‘I really hope there are other people out there who’ll find the courage to admit they’ve got a problem, go to their GP and get the help they need from Evolve. The service has made a massive difference to my life.’
For further information on Evolve Hull Eating Disorder Service visit www.chcphull.nhs.uk/microsites/evolve-hull-eating-disorder-service