Student Run Self Help (SRSH) is a self-funded national organisation which aims to support students with eating disorders. They work with universities across England, training volunteers to setup and run free self-help groups. These groups are open to all students who feel the need to share their experiences of eating disorders, in a positive and accepting setting. Many who wish to find help,
but may not want to see their GP or wait for counselling, can turn to SRSH. The confidential meetings offer immediate support, and whilst it does not necessarily replace traditional counselling, is a vital aid when access to other forms of support are delayed or complicated. SRSH aims to provide a friendly, informal space for sufferers of eating disorders to talk and listen, sharing experiences and promoting recovery.
Many who wish to find help, but may not want to see their GP or wait for counselling, can turn to SRSH
SRSH runs fortnightly sessions during term time, lasting an hour and a half each. They are open to any student who is experiencing stressful issues with eating or body image, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder etc., without the need for a formal diagnosis. The small group sessions are lead by two Group Facilitators, who are trained specifically by SRSH to guide discussion. There is an emphasis on emotions rather than behaviours, and topics that may be triggering, including measurements such as calories or weights, are avoided. Asides from such ground rules, honesty is encouraged as part of the recovery process, and though Facilitators may pose general questions, a natural and honest flow of conversation is important.
Seeking help can seem frightening and impossible sometimes, but SRSH makes this step easier
There is often a range of experiences in the group, from people who are beginning to confront their eating disorders, have recovered already, are having treatment, and everyone in between. Seeking help can seem frightening and impossible sometimes, but SRSH makes this step easier by offering the chance to speak to other sufferers, a valuable lifeline considering the privacy and isolation that comes with eating disorders. The real life experiences of fellow students can help people to understand their own situation better, and know they aren’t alone. Available at each session is information about the university counselling service and charities like B-eat. Making people aware of the range of support available to them is part of SRSH’s desire to guide recovery, helping individuals choose what course of action is best for them.
A future series of workshops titled ‘How To Save A Life’ will help people to look after loved ones who may be experiencing eating disorders
But the organisation aims to go beyond these self-help sessions, and campaigns to raise awareness of eating disorders amongst university students, holding campaigns and workshops. In particular, a future series of workshops titled ‘How To Save A Life’ will help people to look after loved ones who may be experiencing eating disorders. Advice on how to support, understand and aid them will be provided, and discussions also held.
To get involved with SRSH, whether to attend a session or support their work, attend some of the many events they are running during Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 20th-26th), and contact them:
Eating Disorder Awareness Week Event:http://www.facebook.com/events/315965995108084/