Alder Hey Eating Disorder Service for Young People (EDYS)

We are a team of mental health and physical health professionals that provide assessment and treatment to young people when eating has become difficult, either a young person has lost a lot of weight and is wanting to continue to lose weight but is becoming physical unwell due to this, or a young person is using other ways, such as over exercising or vomiting to try to control their weight.

What is the service?

The service is a part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health service (CAMHS) that works specifically with people with an eating disorder.

What do you do?

We offer mental and physical health assessment and treatment for young people with an eating disorder and their families.

What age group does your service work with?

Young people up to aged 18 and their families.

Do you work with other family members?

We offer parent work to help think how best to support the young person who is struggling with eating. We also offer family therapy, which is a chance for the family to talk and think together about how best to manage when eating is difficult for the young person and to make sense of what can keep things difficult and what can help.

Are you limited to working with people from a specific geographical area?

We work with young people and their families that live in Liverpool and Sefton.

Who would someone ask for in the first instance?

Liverpool CAMHS Single Point of Access.

What are your opening times?

We are open 9am-5pm, Mon- Fri

Can you be contacted out-of-hours?

Not at present.

Do you have appointments outside working hours?

There is some flexibility during Monday- Friday but most appointments are between the hours of 9-5.

Do you have drop-in facilities?

Not at present.

Where do you see young people?

We see young people at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and at Alder Park, which is in Waterloo in Sefton.

Do you take referrals directly from children/young people, parents/carers?

Yes we accept self-referrals.

If not, how can people refer in to your service?


Who else can make referrals to you?

GPs, schools (mentors or school nurses or teachers), other health professionals involved with the young person or their family, social care.

What kinds of things do you help with?

Young people that are struggling with eating This may be because they feel they lost control how much they eat, or because food dominates their live or perhaps they make themselves sick after eating.

What do you offer?

Mental and physical health assessment. Family therapy, individual therapy, dietetic advice, psychiatry reviews and advice.

What happens after a referral is made?

After a referral is made one of the team will look at the referral and we might contact the person who made the referral or the GP to make sure we have all of the information we need, such as height, weight, how quickly the young person has lost weight. If we are worried that the young person is becoming very physically unwell due to the eating difficulties we will offer an appointment within 7 days. Other referrals will be seen within 4 weeks, although we try to see within 2 weeks.

What will happen at the first appointment?

At the first appointment we will invite the young person and their parents/guardians to come to meet with one or two members of the team. We will ask some questions to find out when eating first became difficult and about how things are the moment and who is worried and wants things to be different. We will also think about what needs to happen next.

What will happen after that?

The young person will usually be offered an appointment with both a mental health professional and a paediatrician (a doctor training specifically to work with children and teenagers) so that we can make sure we are thinking about both the young person’s mental and physical health needs. If the young person wants things to be different they will be offered some individual sessions with a mental health professional and they might also be offered some family therapy sessions. If the young person does not want any help but parents are worried some sessions will be offered to parents to help them think about how best to manage the eating difficulties at home. Every 6 sessions the professionals involved with the young person and their family will think about whether the right ways of working are being offered or whether we need to offer something a bit different. If there are worries about the young person’s physical health the paediatrician will meet with the young person regularly to monitor and manage their physical health. A dietician might also meet with the young person and their family to think about how best to introduce or manage a balanced diet and how quickly or slowly this should happen so that the body is able to manage this. The dietician will also offer advice about a healthy food intake.

What do you do if a client is not happy with the service?

If a client is not happy with the service we would encourage them to talk to us and let us know what is not working to see whether we can change anything to provide a better experience. Alder Hey also has a complaints department and procedure.

What skills do your staff have?

All of our staff are qualified and trained health professionals.

Do you offer training in your specialist area?

We are aiming to offer training and support to school nurses and GPs and other professionals that work with young people who might be struggling with eating.