top of page


When someone in your life develops an eating disorder, it is often difficult for family members and friends to navigate how to best support the individual struggling. You may feel conflicted, helpless, confused, among many other emotions. There are no guarantees in how to best support someone in your life who is struggling, however these guidelines are here to help you in the times you feel unsure, or need some support.


  • A trained mental or medical health professional is able to evaluate if your loved one has an eating disorder, and will best be able to provide guidance on the proper treatment and support for your loved one who is struggling. Although, it is important to note not all health professionals are thoroughly trained in eating disorders.

  • Negative reactions to your support and/or defensiveness about eating habits or body image does not reflect your relationship with the individual, or your role in their life. 

  • A lot of emotion could arise when bringing up a potential eating disorder.

  • Take care of your own mental and physical health! You are unable to choose to heal for the individual struggling, and this is important to remember. Caring for yourself ensures that you will be able to be supportive to your loved one.


  • Firstly, if you are concerned for a friend, talk to a school counselor, your parent(s), teacher, or trusted adult.

  • Educate yourself on eating disorders - use the resources we provide! There can be harmful and misconstrued information on the internet, so be mindful of the resources you use.

  • Talk to a friend privately about noticing behaviors they are using or symptoms they may be experiencing

  • Use "I" statements! Express how you feel using emotion words or the behaviors you have personally observed.

  • Set boundaries and know your limits. Take care of yourself and your mental health, and know you are not responsible for their struggles nor their recovery. Check in with yourself and tune into how you feel.

  • Offer to talk to a school counselor, trusted adult, or parent with your loved one. Alternatively, you could offer to go to a support group with them!


  • Educate yourself on eating disorders - use the resources we provide! There are many helpful books, blogs, podcasts, and websites that can support you. 

  • Support your loved one in visiting a doctor/pediatrician. This is crucial in addressing any physical symptoms and affects, as well as setting up a plan for care.

  • Talk to the loved one privately about your concerns.

  • Use "I" statements and stick to the facts when engaging in a conversation about your observations.

  • Avoid overly simplified solutions, such as "Just eat" or "Just stop X behavior."

  • Take care of yourself and your mental health. Ultimately, the decision to recover is up to them. Let them know you care and can support them, but also be mindful of your own wellbeing.

  • Be prepared for negative reactions. Some individuals may be in denial that they are struggling, and discussions around eating patterns and behaviors or symptoms could bring up anger, avoidance, or other emotions.

bottom of page