FREED launches online training resources to ease transition from child to adult eating disorder services

girl in therapy session

The transition from child to adult mental health eating disorders services can be challenging for service users and staff, however it can also offer opportunities to take a fresh approach to someone’s treatment and care.

FREED (First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders) has launched online learning resources for professionals to be able to offer improved support during this time. The resources are free to access and can be found on their website. 

Building on existing guidance from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and designed in partnership with service users, carers, academics and clinicians, FREED – a collaboration between South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), King’s College London (KCL) and the Health Innovation Network South London (HIN) - has developed a new suite of online learning resources to support Eating Disorders (ED) professionals to understand the issues, risks and opportunities involved in age-related service transitions. These resources are intended to support professionals to work with their colleagues in their service settings to deliver safe, effective and empowering transitions for young people and their families. They were launched during Children's Mental Health Week 2024. 


The resource consists of five learning modules for ED professionals covering topics including: 

  • Understanding the risks and opportunities of age-related service transitions; 
  • Understanding the pros and cons of different service models (e.g. all age services) in relation to such transitions; 
  • Developing effective transition plans; 
  • Involving parents and carers in transitions and navigating conversations around confidentiality; 
  • Helping young people plan for other age-related major transitions such as moving to university; 
  • Building strong working relationships between child and adolescent services and adult services. 

Co-produced with young people and carers

The training was co-produced with young people with lived experience of transitioning from child to adult treatment for their eating disorder. 

Natalie talked about receiving treatment in an all-age service: 

“I’ve had the same consultant the whole way through, ever since I was 13. That is key, probably the best thing about the whole experience. It was quite a vulnerable time and I felt listened to. We met with both coordinators for two or three sessions. They were all feeding back (to each other). Communication between CAMHS and adult services is the most important thing and listening to family is really important regardless of whether you are 15 or 25.” 

Rose discusses her experience of transition whilst caring for a young person with an eating disorder: 

“I think this cliff edge of confidentiality is crazy and I think it should be a more fluid boundary, somehow. There has to be some common sense. The extent to which parents are involved and the amount of autonomy that people have and are allowed to take their own risks should be able to change in a fluid way depending on the personality and where the person is at, over a period of several years when people are turning from children to adults. 

They should listen to the parents. We wasted a lot of time getting nowhere. If something’s not working, approach it from a different way.”  

About the development of FREED 

The First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED) project was initially developed with support from the NIHR Maudsley BRC as a rapid, specialised treatment for young people (16-25 years) who recently started experiencing eating disorder symptoms. Due to its effectiveness, the NHS provided funding to roll out the programme across England, and it has now supported over 5,000 young people with eating disorders.  

Read more about it here:  


Tags: Eating Disorders & Obesity - South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 7 Feb 2024, 13:25 PM

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