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It might sound impossible, given that an eating disorder is a serious illness, that being in treatment can be fun. But remember the illness doesn’t define who you are. As a young person, clever, funny, full of life and humour you can still make the most of socialising with one another, even when you are in treatment in an inpatient setting. An Ellern Mede summer barbecue is always fun.

Ellern Mede patients enjoy summer activities such as games, barbecues and outings. You are very likely to hear giggles, laughter, whoops of joy as someone wins at badminton or scores a goal at football. That’s what it was like here at Ellern Mede Ridgeway today on Friday 30 June as patients joined in games with one another and with staff before settling down to sample freshly Chef-prepared barbecued options (including vegetarian options), couscous and salads.

One ten-year-old boy tired out as many staff as were willing to share a game of football. The badminton net was a popular option with everyone.

Patient, Francesca*, 17 said: “The barbecue was a time for patients to enjoy social activity with one another, to be outside and in a different environment. We enjoyed ourselves and I think its really important for us to socialise.”

Many parents tell us that their hearts ‘sink’ when they bring their children into hospital, not knowing how they will settle in and afraid to leave them. As one parent said at our Discharge Party for her daughter recently: “I wish I’d known then what I know now. That this would be the turning point. That actually what lay ahead was hope and frequently happiness, I would not have worried the way I did.”

So if you are wondering about taking that step towards treatment for an eating disorder, whether outpatient or inpatient, please don’t hesitate. It really is not all doom and gloom. We will help you find your inner ‘mojo’ and find your smile again.

* Note we do not use a patient’s real name for reasons of confidentiality.