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B-eat Eating Disorders Support and Self-help Group

beat support group

The group is part of the B-eat network, a national charity for eating disorders, and facilitated by fully trained B-eat volunteers. Below is information on:

  • What is b-eat support group?
  • What sort of support does a b-eat support group provide?
  • How does a b-eat group work?
  • Shared agreement to ensure a safe space
  • Schedule for this term

Contact welfare@cusu.cam.ac.uk for more information, or to be addded to the mailing list and receive updates of meetings.

Times, dates and locations may vary, so please email the CUSU-GU Welfare Officer (welfare@cusu.cam.ac.uk) for up-to-date information.

What is a B-eat support group?

Getting support from peers is really important in overcoming an eating disorder, particularly if you feel alone or feel that you can't tell your family or friends. The aim of the Student self-help and support group is to provide a safe environment in which anyone who feels they have been affected, directly or indirectly, by eating disorders, issues with food or related issues can talk openly about their life, problems and issues regarding recovery.

These groups are non-judgmental, non-critical and non-competitive, and aim to support and encourage recovery, not to 'fix', criticise, control, evaluate or compare weight or diet or offer formal treatment, counselling or therapy. Medical referral is not necessary.

The B-eat Network is a UK-wide network of over 400 volunteer Group Facilitators and Support Volunteers who offer support and information to people affected by eating disorders, by setting up and running Self Help & Support Groups.

What sort of support does a B-eat Group provide?

The B-eat Network Groups offer help to people with eating distress in various stages of their illness and recovery, and in many different ways. Attending a group can help you if you are not yet in treatment and want some extra help and support to take a first step.

It is an ideal aid if you are already in treatment and need some additional support in a safe environment to share your experiences. It can also help you if you have been in recovery for some time, but you still feel like you may need some support occasionally. Individuals may attend a Group as seldom or as often as they wish. Some people attend regularly while others may only go along once every couple of months.

The groups can provide you with an opportunity to meet other people who may be in a similar situation to yourself, and to share experiences or just to listen to others. B-eat groups are self help and support groups where attendees support each other by sharing experiences, thoughts, successes and problems. B-eat groups do not offer treatment, counselling or therapy.

How does a B-eat group work?

The groups run as small groups of individuals, and are guided by two b-eat trained facilitators who will ensure the meeting is conducted to include and support all members in a safe and constructive environment. Facilitators are bound by strict confidentiality agreements, national codes of practice and undergo constant reflection, evaluation and supervision so they can best support the group.

Together, the facilitators and students who attend each meeting decide its direction and the way it operates; the group effectively belongs to its members. There is no obligation to disclose any information, the group is bound by strict confidentiality, and attendance and involvement can be as much or as little as is best for each individual member. It is a student self-help group run by students, for students.

The sessions are always user led, so you can talk as much or as little as you like - no one asks you to stand up and recite your life story, and simply coming along to listen is fine! Members are also more than welcome to bring a friend along.

Shared Agreement

The group has a shared agreement which will all try to stick to in order to ensure a safe and supportive environment. By coming to the groups, members agree:

  1. The group is pro-recovery.
  2. Trust, openness and honesty are the basis of the group's working agreement.
  3. Confidentiality is essential - anything discussed in the group, and the names of other members, should not be discussed outside of the group.
  4. Group members should be non-Judgmental, non-critical and non-controlling.
  5. Avoid one-to-one dialogue and handing out advice in group discussions. Share how you feel and what worked for you but remember it might be different for somebody else.
  6. Try not to talk over people and try to ensure all members have a chance to talk.
  7. Respect others ideals and experiences. It is all right to disagree with ideas but not to personalise it.
  8. There should be no mention or discussion of "numbers"- calories, weights, BMI's etc.
  9. There should be no mention of others' weight, appearance etc.
  10. The groups provide sympathy, advice and encouragement, but not formal counselling or professional advice.
  11. Attendance is not compulsory, members can come to the group as much or is little as they feel necessary, and there is no obligation to attend.
  12. There is no obligation to talk; members can say as much or as little as they like.