Help for Someone Else

You may find it difficult and stressful to approach someone you care about who has an eating disorder. You may wonder what to say, or be understandably worried about what will happen as a result. Rest assured, however, that there are things you can do to offer support. 

Are You Worried About Someone Else?

  • How do you know if someone is experiencing an eating disorder or disordered eating?
  • How to approach someone
  • What if they react negatively?
  • What if someone tells you they’re struggling with an eating disorder and/or asks you for help?
  • What if someone tells you they don’t want to continue treatment or that they don’t think treatment is working?
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What are Helpful Strategies for Supporting Someone With an Eating Disorder?

  • Understanding the non-linear process of recovery
  • Supporting someone at mealtimes, when socializing, when situations escalate, and with the language you use

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What are Specific Considerations for Parents and Caregivers?

  • Changes you’ve noticed  
  • Understanding what's going on for your child
  • Opening the door for conversation
  • Conversations with your child's doctors 
  • Who is a young adult?   
  • Unique challenges for young adults with an eating disorder   
  • How to support yourself and your young adult  
  • Supporting adult children/someone with an enduring eating disorder 
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What are Specific Considerations for Educators?

  • What to watch for
  • Supporting a student who is affected
  • Taking on a whole-school approach to prevention and early intervention  


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What are Specific Considerations for Employers?

  • Work stress
  • Warning signs
  • Workplace culture
  • Supporting an employee who is affected


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What Can You do to Take Care of Yourself as a Support Person?

  • Setting boundaries
  • Strategies and support


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Additional

For coaches and fitness/athletics professionals  

For healthcare professionals

Other NEDIC resources for furthering your learning

  • For coaches and fitness/athletics professionals  

    • Information and resources

      We know that physical activity can contribute to health and well-being. One might presume that the more exercise, the better; however, there is a point when too much exercise can give rise to health consequences. 


      • Materials for fitness professionals from EDAW2022 – An introduction to learning more about strategies to have a conversation with an athlete or client who you think might be affected with disordered eating and about resources to help you learn of the indicators to watch for as you work to incorporate movement into people's lives.


      • Athletes Embodied – A partnership between NEDIC, Western University and the University of Toronto, Athletes Embodied, integrates scientific research and perspectives from athletes, leaders, and decision makers in Canadian youth sport, with the goal of improving the experiences and retention of adolescent girls in sport. We do this by providing actionable, evidence-based guidelines and resources that address body image challenges in sport, with a specific focus on girls ages 11-16.
  • For healthcare professionals

    • Information and resources

      Healthcare providers are a vital link in the circle of care for people with eating disorders. Here are some resources that may be pertinent to your practice:

      • Guide for Primary Care Providers– Primary care providers play an essential role in the assessment and care of individuals with eating disorders. Developed in collaboration with Body Brave, this resource for primary care providers is a concise guide to supporting patients who present with disordered eating concerns.

      • Self-administered screening tools – These can help patients identify whether their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours relating to food, eating, and/or their body are consistent with symptoms of an eating disorder. You can share the relevant tool(s) with them to get the conversation going or make it easily accessible in your office for them to use on their own.
        Screen for Disordered Eating (PDF)
        Short ARFID Screen (PDF)

      • Guide to Medical Care– This document, created by the Academy for Eating Disorders’ Medical Care Standards Committee, is intended as a resource to promote recognition and prevention of medical morbidity and mortality associated with eating disorders. It is not a comprehensive clinical guide. Every attempt was made to provide information based on the best available research and current best practices.

      • Guide to Selecting Evidence-based Psychological Therapies– This document, created by the Academy for Eating Disorders’ Psychological Care Guidelines Task Force, is intended as a resource to promote the use of evidence-based psychological treatments for eating disorders. It is not a comprehensive clinical guide. Every attempt was made to provide information based on the best available evidence.

      • Guidebook for Nutrition Treatment – This publication, created by the Academy for Eating Disorders Nutrition Working Group, contains basic information regarding elements of nutrition care for individuals with eating disorders. The guideline is intended as a resource to clinicians who are providing nutritional interventions as part of a multi-disciplinary team or are otherwise involved in the care of these individuals. It is not intended to be a comprehensive nutrition therapy guide. The information provided is based on available research and current best practices.
  • Other NEDIC resources for furthering your learning

    • Bulletin

      The NEDIC Bulletin is published five times annually and highlights current and emerging issues in eating disorder treatment and prevention. You can subscribe to receive new Bulletins via email as they are published. Previous issues can be viewed on our resources page. 

    • Community Education

      Our community education programming is delivered to over 20,000 people across Canada every year. Our vision is to have home, school, youth-facing, and healthcare environments that are body-inclusive, where people feel accepted and respected. Our sessions blend best practices in health and education policy to increase your confidence in navigating the vast array of information around food, weight, exercise, and health in a non-discriminatory manner.

    • Webinars

      You can browse our webinars archive to register for upcoming sessions, as well as view recordings of past sessions. We address various topics, including diet culture and weight stigma, eating disorders and comorbidities, skills and strategies for folks directly affected, tips for educators, and treatment approaches. 

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