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How can we improve the lives of people with Eating Disorders?

James Downs a young adult with lived experience of eating disorders spoke at today’s ‘Eating Disorders: Developing a Gold Standard Service’ conference on:

  • how can we improve the lives of people with Eating Disorders?

  • the journey to diagnosis

  • understanding the lived experience and regaining control

James Down’s Biography:

James Downs is 26 and comes from Cardiff. He is currently studying psychology and behavioural science at Cambridge alongside continuing to work as a mental health campaigner following his ongoing experience of mental health problems including a major eating disorder. His work has included speaking in Parliament and at major political and healthcare conferences as the Voice of Mind for Wales in Mind’s general and Welsh Assembly election campaigns.

Over the years James has often struggled to access the services he needed. Only after six years did he manage to access specialist psychological therapy for eating disorders, and he has since worked to develop NHS services on a local and national level. He also believes that the absence of a broader consideration of wellbeing on a social level made it harder for him to develop the psychological flexibility and emotional resilience needed to keep well, and in particular that cultural shifts in attitudes towards eating and body image have served as a catalyst for the development and maintenance of his own problems.  

The many years James went without support have had a profound impact on his health and life, including forcing him to give up places at Cambridge, music college and dropping out of his medical degree. Having since campaigned for positive change on an institutional level, it has become clear to James that integration and collaboration of services is a key priority if we are to treat people as holistic individuals and safeguard against people like himself falling through the net in the future.

James hopes to go on to train in psychotherapy and apply for clinical psychology traineeships after graduating from Cambridge University.

Future conferences of interest:

Implementing the NEW NICE Quality Standard for Domestic Violence & Improving the effectiveness of MARACs
Wednesday 2 March 2016
ICO Conference Centre
London

Towards Zero Suicide: Preventing Suicide, Saving Lives
Tuesday 15 March 2016
Hallam Conference Centre
London

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: Ensuring Compliance & Moving towards a new system of 'Protective Care'
Tuesday 19 April 2016
Hallam Conference Centre
London

A Practical Guide to Positive and Proactive Care Reducing the use of restrictive interventions Managing & Reducing Control and Restraint
Tuesday 19 April 2016
Hallam Conference Centre
London

Smoking Cessation in Mental Health
Friday 22 April 2016
Hallam Conference Centre
London

Improving the Quality of Perinatal Mental Health Services
Wednesday 4 May 2016
Hallam Conference Centre
London


10 February 2016

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