If it looks like things are taking a turn for the worse, address matters head-on as quickly as possible, whilst remaining sensitive and supportive.
The pupil must not be made to feel that they’ve failed
More than likely they’ll be beating themselves up and be feeling deeply upset that they’re letting everyone around them down. This is a heavy burden to bear and you should aim not to exacerbate it by encouraging feelings of guilt. Instead, help the student to realise that this is simply a setback and nothing more… a detour rather than the end of the line.
Explore what has triggered the current difficulties
It won’t always be possible to isolate the source of a setback but in many instances it may be that a particular incident has caused the current difficulties, perhaps something someone has said or done. It is entirely likely that the offending action or comment was not intended to cause any offence or upset – sometimes even comments which are meant as compliments or to boost confidence can be misinterpreted and can trigger a setback. For instance the pupil who is told they are ‘looking well’ who interprets this to mean they’re ‘looking fat’. The pupil needs to feel able to share any difficulties such as this in confidence so similar situations can be avoided moving forward
Offer more support if necessary
During a difficult periods, it may be necessary to increase the amount of support you offer to the pupil for a while. Discuss this option with them and let them guide you. Make sure that they feel able to ask for additional support at any time – this way they may be able to avoid a relapse situation but calling on extra support before things go too far.
Call in back up
Don’t feel you have to go it alone. If you feel it’s appropriate, bring in the support of external agencies such as CAMHS, even if you had previously felt this was no longer necessary. Some schools want to show that they can manage things well internally, but making effective use of external agencies is a sign of strength and ultimately in the pupil’s best interests. The waiting lists for such help can be long, so consider asking for help sooner rather than later. If you wait until you can’t manage without extra support then you could end up in a situation you don’t feel confident managing.
You may also be interested in other free eating disorder resources I have uploaded: [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”3″] [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”4″]