By Daryl Madill, Chair of the F.E.A.S.T. Board of Directors
F.E.A.S.T. ‘s Parent Support Lines are available to parents and carers wherever they are in the world 24/7. We are a small dedicated crew of parent volunteers with lived experience, and we monitor the email, chat line and voicemail daily via monthly roster. Team members sign up for a few days a month, and while ‘on shift’ commit to answering queries within the waking hours of their day. Our team hails from the UK, Israel, Canada and the US.
Where do the inquiries come from? Most often from the US, the UK and Canada. But we have had individuals reach out for support from Australia, South Africa, Germany, the Philippines, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
Who contacts us? Many times it’s a mother, though nearly as often it’s a dad. Sometimes it’s a grandparent or a sibling or spouse. And occasionally we have affected individuals contacting us as they don’t know where else to turn for support.
What do we say? We provide hope that recovery is possible at any age and stage of illness. We point worried parents and carers towards our online moderated peer support forums. There they can connect with others who can offer insight and experience to enlighten and inform the family’s eating disorder journey. We send F.E.A.S.T. website resource pages as applicable, be they for ARFID, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder or Meal Support. We send links to F.E.A.S.T. blog posts that are hopeful and helpful. We send links to the medical management of eating disorders, and we send region-specific webpages for those who indicate where in the world they are living.
Why do we do this? Our parent support team is passionate about helping other families to get the information and connection with others in similar circumstances that they so desperately need. We want to shorten the duration of illness if possible, by informing and empowering parents and carers with the latest evidence-based information and links to the tools and skills needed to turn them into effective caregivers and important team members working for their loved one’s recovery. We offer sparks of hope to light the way through the darkness.