How to Help Friend with An Eating Disorder

If you have observed behaviors in your friend, roommate, girlfriend or boyfriend that are suggestive of an eating disorder, you are in a position to help.

  • Make a plan to approach the person in a private place, at a time when there is no immediate stress.
  • Present in a caring but straightforward way what you have observed and what your concerns are. Tell her/him that you are worked, and want to help.
  • Give the person time to talk and encourage them to verbalize their feelings. Listen attentively and actively:  accept what is said with an open mind.
  • If the person denies the problem, or becomes defensive, understand that this is often part of the illness.  S/he may feel shame and not want to talk about it. You may feel helpless and frustrated. Let them know that you’re there for them should they need to talk, and will keep checking in with them. Say things like, “I hear what you are saying but I’m still very worried about what I’ve seen/heard.”
  • If you are concerned that the eating disorder is severe please contact your Area Coordinator, the Health Center or the Dean of Students.
  • Remember you can only do the best you can. If you yourself need support please contact the Counseling Center or WGRAC.

Important Numbers:

Health Center: Martha Burke O'Brien, Director: 860-297-2018

Counseling Center: Randy Lee, Ph.D., Director; Kristine Kennen, Psy.D. Asst. Director: 860-207-2415

Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC): Laura R. Lockwood, 860-297-2408; Abdul Staten, 860-297-4131

Dean of Students: Christopher Card: 860-297-2158

Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-800-931-2237

Institute of Living: 545-7718 – Washington Street, across from Learning Corridor

Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders: www.anad.org

Overeaters Anonymous: www.oa.org

A resource about Eating Disorder Treatment can be found on

http://drugabuse.com/library/eating-disorder-treatment 

WGRAC's Promoting Healthy Awareness of the Body (PHAB): Julia.tempesta@trincoll.edu and Julian.chen@trincoll.edu