FREED header image

First episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders service

What is FREED?

  • FREED is an early intervention service for young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who have recently developed an eating disorder. By that, we mean that the eating disorder began in the last 3 years.
  • FREED is being rolled out nationally across England, and our service in Kent is currently offering FREED to people aged between 18 and 25. We intend to open FREED up to 16 and 17 year olds in the near future.

Hear from Milly and Aimee as they explain more about the innovative FREED service.

Why is early intervention important?

  • Early intervention is important as if someone has only been unwell for a short time, treatment seems to work better, especially during adolescence and young adulthood. This means that with early treatment there is a better chance of a full recovery.
  • We know that the longer someone is unwell with an eating disorder, the harder it is for them to change. This is because eating disorders cause changes in the brain that make eating disorder behaviours more habit-like and stuck and this can make recovery harder
  • However, what we know is that the first 3 years provide a “critical window” to effectively treat and reverse the changes to the brain and body and therefore help to stop those behaviours caused by the eating disorder.

What happens when I start the FREED pathway?

Your journey on the FREED Pathway starts with a referral into our service, which might be a self-referral or a referral through your GP or other health professional that you are working with.

Once we receive your referral, it will be screened by one of our specialist clinicians and we aim to call you within 48 hours. The goal of this call is to find out a bit more about your eating difficulties and when they started. If we think that we are the right service for you, then we will arrange an assessment for you. We aim to offer an assessment within two weeks of your referral.

In the assessment we will talk to you about your eating difficulties in more detail and think about what treatment might suit you best. Treatment is designed to target the 16-25 age group in particular and be developmentally adapted for issues that may be most relevant to this life stage.

How to contact us

Patient information

The Kent and Medway All Age Eating Disorders Service is based at The Courtyard in Maidstone and George Turles House in Canterbury. To contact our service, please see details below:

Tel: 0300 300 1980
Opening times: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm