Coming Soon: An Online Skills Program for Carers

13 Oct, 2020

InsideOut Institute is launching a new online skills-based training program for people supporting loved ones with an eating disorder.

We caught up with the project lead, psychologist Rachel Simeone, to learn what is in the new program and the research trial linked to it.

Can you tell us why InsideOut created an online program for carers?

Eating disorders are complex mental health issues and they don’t just affect those who experience them. They also have a significant impact on their loved ones.

Current research tells us that support people often experience feelings of isolation, lack of education and resources, and feelings of burnout. They are also typically not involved in treatment to the level that they should be.

At InsideOut we really want this to change!

We recognise that support people need support too. So, we have developed this program to hopefully reduce some of the negative experiences they may have, and ultimately, to improve the outcomes for people experiencing an eating disorder.

That is super important! Can you tell us about the program itself?

The program is an online toolkit and skills program for carers, family members, and other people supporting a loved one living with an eating disorder. You can complete the modules online, at your own pace.

We have included information about eating disorders, how to facilitate recovery, and how to manage emotions and burnout. The program is interactive, including videos from health professionals and carers, animations, role plays, stories of lived experience, plus links to helpful resources from a variety of organisations

Full disclosure – I had a peek – and the animations make things easy to understand. I also saw some great videos about meal support - why did you want to include them?

As a psychologist, I have provided a lot of meal support over the years. I understand that it’s one thing to be told what to do at mealtimes – but it’s a whole other thing to sit with someone and help them to eat, especially when they are extremely distressed.

We really wanted to provide practical and useful advice for carers within the program and I think role plays can be a helpful way to see what meal support looks like in action.

This program will be a part of a research project, can you tell me about that?

This means we can keep an eye on their experience with, and response to, the program. We can also provide support where needed and gather more information about carers and their needs.

This will allow us to adapt the program and create other resources into the future so we can better support carers and those who experience eating disorders.

Can people sign up to be a part of the research trial?

Yes – we'd love carers to trial the program and tell us what they think.

You're already an experienced psychologist, but did you learn anything in creating this resource?

The idea for the program - and what it contains - was very much influenced by people with a lived experience of being a support person and I have absolutely loved working alongside them.

We all have a lot we can learn from them.

They are a helpful, kind and thoughtful bunch who generously shared their time, their knowledge and, at times, deeply personal experiences with us in the hope it might help others in similar situations.

In particular I could not have completed this program without the support and guidance of our colleagues at EDFA and I cannot recommend their support groups enough for those who are looking for support.

For more information about EDFA's great support groups, click here.