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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I am really worried about my friend who has stopped eating what can I do to help her?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    Dr Susan Rowe


    Dr Susan Rowe is a Director of Mindhack psychology clinic where she also works as a clinician. Dr Susan is a specialist in providing effective … View Profile

    Thanks for asking this question about your friend. It sounds as though you are concerned about them and that you want to support them. 

    Often changes in eating or sleeping patterns can suggest that someone is emotionally unwell. There can be lots of reasons for this, whether that be they are anxious or stressed or something has happened to upset them. 

    I would recommend for you to have a look at the National Eating Disorders website They have very good information about understanding disorderd eating but also good tips about helping people you are worried about. 

    Perhaps try and talk to your friend about your concerns, maybe there are things that are bothering them that talking to you could help with. 

    Otherwise you could suggest that she speak to her General Practitioner if she is having difficulty eating or keeping food down. 

  • 3


    Dr Sarah Visser

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Dr. Sarah Visser is a registered clinical psychologist who specialises in adult individual therapy. An experienced practitioner in a variety of areas such as depression, … View Profile

    You sound very worried about your friend and it is very concerning if s/he has stopped eating. I think talking about your concerns is the best place to start. Pick a time that is private and appropriate to raise your concerns, perhaps begin with your worries about whether everything is ok in their life and that these worries come from the place of a concerned friend who cares about them.
    If you have noticed that your friend is not eating or is losing weight, tell your friend this too.
    If your friend is open to discussing what is going on, you might suggest they get some professional help from a psychologist or their GP.
    If not, you can reassure your friend that you are available if they want to talk another time.

  • 5


    Anna Crichton

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Founded in 1996, Anna E Crichton & Partners Clinical Psychology provides psychological assessments and counselling with individual adults as well as psychological reports. With offices … View Profile

    This is something that I come across very often. Somebody comes to consult me because they are very concerned about somebody in the family or someone they love.
    So what I suggest to the person who shows that concern is, “Have you discussed it with your friend or relative? Have you told them that you are concerned?”
    There is a special way of discussing it with the sufferer. Use with them an “I” statement rather than a “you” statement. Do not say to them, “You've stopped eating. You are too skinny. You are depressed.” Simply tell them how you feel and how you are affected by their behavior. But be quite tentative.

    An example would be, “I am quite concerned you have stopped eating. Can we talk about it? I'm really worried about it.” Take it from there. If your friend does not want to talk about it, do not press it, because you will just build more resistance.

    If they are opening up to the subject, you could then tentatively suggest assistance. Do not push, do not press. Imagine yourself half a step behind the person and say something like, “Would you like me to help you to find somebody to talk to?” And then wait for a response.

  • 2


    Renata Wosik


    RW Psychology focuses on the treatment of children, adolescents, couples, and families. We are committed to working in partnership with you to meet your therapeutic … View Profile

    What a great friend to notice and be concerned!! How to manage this all depends on your friends age.... Is it possible to talk with parents about the issue..?. also butterfly foundation is a wealth of help with eating disorders. I see young people and their families for treatment. Catching it early is a really great first step!!!

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