Woman holding phone

What is Befriending?

Befriending is a service that links adults (18 years and above) who are currently in recovery with those that have recovered. The relationship lasts for 6 months via a weekly phone conversation. 

It's important to know that befriending is not a counselling service but it is professionally guided support with some goals that both sides work together to achieve. It should therefore be an additional service to other professional input, i.e. medical monitoring and psychological/emotional support. 

Why Befriending can help

Whilst support from family and friends is an important part of recovery, we know, from speaking to those that have benefitted from our Befriending service in the past, that sometimes it can feel difficult to share feelings and challenges with the loved ones around us. Befriending can be a way to do that alongside working towards solutions and strategies for moving forward positively. 

My Experience of Befriending

How Befriending helped Sarah during recovery from Bulimia

In her own words, Sarah* explains how having a Befriender helped her really believe full recovery was possible and how to normalise the ups and downs of the recovery journey at a time of significant change in her life. 

Read Sarah's story

*Names have been changed.

How does it work?

As a voluntary, mutually beneficial relationship, the Befriender gives time regularly each week to support and encourage someone. It differs from a friendship because the Befriender is trained to offer a form of guided support as well as enabling the Befriendee to find help with some of the feelings they may be experiencing; often fear, anxiety and stress. People who ask for a Befriender are usually linked with someone who has a similar experience to their own. 

Most importantly, befriending helps someone to feel less alone and isolated, and offers hope, encouragement and guidance to make small positive changes towards recovery, including eating well again.

Who are the Befrienders?

One of our Befrienders, Becky told us how she supports people through recovery. 
Read Becky's story


Our team of regional befrienders live in different areas across the UK but all have personal experience of eating disorders and have been recovered for a sufficient amount of time for them to be able to provide support. We provide comprehensive training prior to becoming a befriender, which covers calling guidelines, best practice, confidentiality and listening skills amongst other things. Each Befriender is also trained on the Recovery Star model, a well known and respected measure of outcomes to support mental health and wellbeing. 

“It would have been so nice to speak to someone who really understood. Family & friends were well-intentioned but they could say the wrong thing.”


Guide to Befriending

For more information including aims, what is covered, eligibility criteria, and answers to frequently asked questions, read our Guide To Befriending Or email us your questions:

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