Family and Friends Support Group

The  Family and Friends Support Group offers an opportunity for people who care about someone who is experiencing an eating disorder to come togther  to offer each other support. It can be  helpful to speak with people who are in a similar situation to you and to share experiences, ideas and support in an open and caring environment. 

I have reached out in all possible ways for help in this life shattering time. The Family & Friends support group has proved to be a life-line in my current situation. It helps me to see there might be hope but also forewarns me about potential problems.

I can be free in what I say and not worry about being judged. People there can identify with my problems and possibly offer suggestions. I have felt able to offer words of comfort to other people. I leave the session feeling a tiny bit more fortified and resilient, more ready to face the next challenges.

You feel less alone.

The group is open to anyone who is supporting someone experiencing an eating disorder. It runs on the first Tuesday of the month, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. from our office in Sheffield. A peer support group for people with eating disorders runs at the same time in a separate room. We ask that  if the person that you are supporting comes with you, that they attend the Peer Support Group for people experiencing an eating disorder, or that they wait in the waiting room until the group has finished. 

The dates for 2017 are as follows: 10 January (NB. This is a week later than usual due to the Christmas break) 7 February, 7 March, 4 April, 2 May, 6 June, 4 July, 1 August, 5 September, 3 October, 7 November, 5 December

The group is run by trained facilitators, with a minimum of two facilitators at each group.The facilitators are usually around for at least 10 minutes before and after the group starts and finishes so you can speak with them privately should you wish to. It can be daunting attending a group for the first time but please be assured that the facilitators, and other group members, will make you feel welcome.  If you are attending for the first time then the facilitators will be around to introduce themselves and explain more about the group so please feel free to come a little earlier for a cuppa and a chat.

People arrive in varying states of fragility and various stages of crisis. The conversations start off intense and often desperate. Usually, by the latter part of the session, we are sharing smiles and the occasional laugh.

I make it a priority to go. Even though time takes on a whole new meaning when you have a child with anorexia because the majority of you time can be spent organising food, thinking about food, buying food, preparing food, trying to cajole someone to eat food, being sad if the person cannot eat food... You rarely take time away, but attending the carers support group is definitely time well spent.

I have reached out in all possible ways for help in this life shattering time. The carers support group has proved to be a life-line in my current situation. It helps me to see there might be hope but also forewarns me about potential problems. I can be free in what I say and not worry about being judged. People there can identify with my problems and possibly offer suggestions. I have felt able to offer words of comfort to other people. I leave the session feeling a tiny bit more fortified and resilient, more ready to face the next challenges. You feel less alone.

The facilitators are warm, supportive, encouraging and knowledgeable. It is also comforting just knowing that people give up their time to try to give us support.

The ground rules have been agreed by those accessing the group on a regular basis.  We run through the rules at the beginning of each group and give the opportunity for people to add anything they think is appropriate.

Family and Friends Support Group Ground Rules

  • Time boundaries - The group starts at 7.00pm and finishes at 8.30pm.
  • No pressure to talk - If you want to join in the discussion then we welcome your input however no one will be asked to speak if they just want to listen.
  • Confidentiality/anonymity - What we speak about stays in the room.
  • Non-judgmental - Please don’t judge one another, everyone’s experiences are very different.
  • Respect other people's opinions  - Please respect the opinions of others, even if you don’t share them.
  • Let others have their say  - We appreciate that you may have a lot to say at the group but time is limited and it’s important that everyone feels listened to.
  • Don't talk over other people  - Please don’t interrupt people when they’re speaking or talk over others.
  • It's OK to show emotion  - Whatever that emotion may be, anger, frustration, hurt, upset, fear—it’s ok to express it in the room.
  • If you are in the room, be in the room  - Try to leave everything else at the door as you come into the room and focus on the group.
  • Turn off mobile phones
  • If we meet outside of here it's OK not to acknowledge each other - Sometimes in order to maintain confidentiality and anonymity it’s not always appropriate to acknowledge one another.
  • Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed at the end of a session  - The facilitators will be around at the end for anyone needing to speak to them.