Some Do's and Don'ts in Reaching out to Someone Who May Have an Eating Disorder
Speak to the person privately and allow time to talk.
Tell the person you are very concerned about him/her
Calmly tell the person all the specific observations that have aroused your concern.
Allow the person time to respond. Listen carefully and non-judgmentally.
Keep the focus on problems (for example, withdrawing from others).
If the information you receive suggests an eating disorder, share with that person that you: a) think that have a problem with eating (or body image or weight management), b) are concerned about their wellbeing, c) are concerned that the matter needs to be evaluated by someone that understands eating disorders.
Know about some of the resources in your school and your community to which students can be referred.
Tell a nurse, guidance counselor, teacher or coach immediately if the person has problems that scare you, for example, if the person is: a) bingeing and throwing up several times a day, b) passing out or complaining of chest pain, c) complaining of severe stomach ache and.
Seek support for yourself as a caregiver
Allow independence and for them to take charge of their life
Don't speak to an adult without first speaking privately to the person whom you suspect of having an eating disorder (unless the situation is an emergency).
Don't confront the person with a group of people, all of who are firing concerns and accusations at the person.
Don't threaten or challenge the person.
Don't be judgmental; don't tell the person that what they are doing is sick or crazy or stupid.
Don't give advice about weight loss or exercising or appearance.
Don't get into an argument or battle of wills.
Don't promise to keep what you have observed a secret.
Don't try to keep track of what the person is eating or try to force the person to eat or not eat.
Don't let the person monopolize your time and energy.
Don't make mealtime a battleground
Don't purchase (or avoid purchasing) food solely to accommodate the eating-disordered person
Don't assume the role of therapist, find a specialized therapist and suggest they go talk to someone.