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Helping my friend with an eating disorder

I just came back from the half-term holiday today (3 weeks off school) and I saw one of my friends. She's lost a considerable amount of weight in her face and generally her whole body and im woried that she may have an eating disorder. Before this, she'd also lost a lot of weight during the summer holiday. Last term, she mentioned breifly about having struggled with food but when I asked about it she said she didn't want to talk. She excersises regularly and doesn't stray much from porrige, cinnamon and fruit. I'm really scared for her but I don't know how to confront her about it. I don't want to scare her away from our friendship or make her feel like she can't talk to me... I'm worried for her, have been for a while, but I don't want to sit back and watch her die.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Losing a lot of weight and struggling with eating can both be signs that someone has an eating problem. Eating problems can happen because of many different reasons and at times can become out of control.

Having the right support in place can help someone to recover and move forward. And can help them to manage the feelings that may be the cause of them.

You can offer support to your friend and let them know that you are there to listen if and when they want to talk. She may not be ready to talk or to get help just yet so be prepared that she may not react the way you hoped at first.

It can help to find out a little more about eating problems and when the time is right,  you could suggest that your friend look too. We have advice about staying healthy and looking after your body that you may find helpful too.

It’s important to remember that as a friend, the kind of help you can give is different to what someone like a doctor or therapist could. It can be hard when you are worried that someone you care about may be in danger and it‘s not always easy to know what the right thing is to say. To help keep them safe you may need to involve a trusted adult like a teacher, family member or a doctor.

It's important too that you feel you have the support that you deserve. Both of you can get some extra support by talking to a Childline counsellor.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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