A picture of a white man using his smartphone to access Beat Eating Disorders webchat service represent the topic of the article - Beat: How Their Eating Disorders Web Chat Works

Beat: How Their Eating Disorders Web Chat Works

While watching a programme called ‘Freddie Flintoff: Living with Bulimia‘ on BBC One, the show reminded me I needed to try to seek support for my own eating disorder. I’ve suffered from an eating disorder in one form or another my entire adult life, which is getting on for over 20 years now. Thus, I thought to seek support from Beat and decided to write about my experience of using their eating disorders web chat service so that others would know what to expect.


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In fact, my issues with food started long before then, in primary school. Thus, when I saw this programme, it just reminded me of my own problems, starting at school, and how they’d been dismissed when I’d sought help before. The programme itself was quite an eye-opener, and it’s great that someone of his status has spoken out. Hopefully, men seeking help for eating disorders will be taken more seriously now. However, I wish we didn’t have to rely on the confessions of famous people for such things to be taken seriously.


I’ve reached out to GPs, doctors, therapists, counsellors, endocrinologists (my eating disorder caused me to develop reactive hypoglycaemia), and psychiatrists over the decades, and no one ever took my eating disorder seriously. That lack of caring left me with a physical health issue that’ll ruin my quality of life for the rest of my life and put me at high risk of type 2 diabetes.


A screenshot of Beat Eating Disorders webchat signup screen


Anyway, I contacted Beat using the web chat service on a Sunday at just before 17.00, so I don’t know if this will reflect the use of the service at other times or not. When I contacted Beat using this method of communication, I was in the queue for about four minutes, as I was the fourth person in said queue.


A screenshot of the "searching for an agent" screen to show the wait time for using Beat Eating Disorders webchat service

The people managing the web chat on half of Beat start by asking you about your age, ethnicity, and location in the UK (which of the countries you’re from). I imagine this is because each country in the UK will have different services in place, especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland. England and Wales are usually the same.


They will then ask you about your concerns. So in my case, I gave them a brief history of my issues around food, eating habits (or lack thereof), and how my previous attempts to seek help for an eating disorder had just been completely ignored.




During the discussion with the person from Beat about my concerns, I asked if they knew which eating disorder I might actually have. They replied that I could have both anorexia and bulimia, which I didn’t know was possible. However, this obviously isn’t a diagnosis from a professional, as it’s more than likely this person is trained to signpost rather than being trained in eating disorders itself.


Anyway, the person I was talking to then brought up the online support groups they offer at Beat. They have several group options to select from, including one created around covid19. If you’re interested in trying any of those out or finding out more information about them, then you can do that by clicking here


A screenshot of Beat Eating Disorders six online support groups


They also sign-posted me to other useful resources on their site, such as a useful page on how to overturn decisions called “Overturning Bad Decisions and Understanding Appropriate Ones“. This page has information on what you can do when your GP doesn’t make a referral, the eating disorder service won’t give you an assessment, the eating disorder service won’t treat you, etc.


The page provides a lot of information on what steps you can take so you can get the treatment you require to live a better quality of life. So if this sounds like something you’ve experienced when trying to seek support with an eating disorder, please go check out that page, which you can do by clicking here.


The person I was talking to from Beat also recommended a couple of books, as I expressed an interest in doing the work myself. Because of my experiences with seeking help for my eating disorders before, especially with my Mental Health Trust, I’d rather make the changes myself. They’ve let me down time and time again, ignoring my email about suicide planning in the form of writing a suicide letter, even though they replied to the actual email itself, just not that bit. Anyway, I’m getting off track. The two books they recommended were: 


Beating Your Eating Disorder: A Cognitive-Behavioural Self-Help Guide for Adult Sufferers and their Carers by Glenn WallerBeating Your Eating Disorder: A Cognitive-Behavioural Self-Help Guide for Adult Sufferers and their Carers.

By Glen Waller, Victoria Mountford, Rachel Lawson, Emma Gray, Helen Cordery, and Hendrik Hinrichsen.

If you’re interested in buying this book yourself, then I’ve got you covered.


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Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa 2nd Edition: A self-help guide using cognitive  behavioural techniques (Overcoming Books)Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa 2nd Edition: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques.

By Patricia Graham and Christopher Freeman.

If you’re interested in buying this book yourself, then I’ve got you covered here, too.


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While we talked, they also asked for my postcode to see if there was a self-referral eating disorder unit in my area. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one for over 18s in my area. But hey, that would indicate to me that there is at least an under-18s one in my area, so not all bad.


My Beat Web Chat Verdict


All in all, we talked for roughly 40-45 minutes, so you get a fair bit of time to talk with them. We probably could have talked longer, too. It wasn’t like there was a time limit they had in place, as far as I know. They also didn’t try to rush me to end the conversation.


I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I didn’t leave feeling like my needs had been met, unfortunately, but that could be because of my unique situation. Because so many professionals had ignored my attempts to get help with my eating problems in the past and I was resigned to the fact I wouldn’t get the help I needed or just a simple diagnosis. I probably went into this expecting them to be trained in eating disorders so they could give me a diagnosis, so that’s really my bad, not theirs.




It wouldn’t make sense for the web chat team at Beat to be trained in eating disorders but rather trained to offer support around their website and other support options. In this regard, the staff and the web chat service did a great job. The problem was my expectations got in the way, thus causing my disappointment. Luckily, I have hindsight.


Thus, if you think you might have an eating disorder, know someone who does, or needs help because you’ve been let down while trying to get help, then the web chat service Beat offers is certainly a good place to start.


Furthermore, Beat’s information on overturning negative decisions and knowing your rights could be a lifesaver. Although this wasn’t something I discussed with them when I used their chat service, it was something they brought up when I talked about my issues with everyone ignoring my eating disorder, which ultimately led to me developing reactive hypoglycaemia.


Click the button to be taken to the one-to-one web chat service Beat offers.



If talking to Beat using their web chat isn’t your thing, then they also have a few other methods you can try.



Helpline: 0808 801 0677
Email: help@beateatingdisorders.org.uk

Young people

Helpline: 0808 801 0711
Email: fyp@beateatingdisorders.org.uk


Helpline: 0808 801 0811
Email: studentline@beateatingdisorders.org.uk


The picture is split in two with the top image being of a white woman on her smartphone and the bottom image being of a white man on his mobile phone. The two images are separated by the article title - Beat: How Their Eating Disorders Web Chat Works


Other Book Recommendations By Beat


A picture of the book - Getting Better Bite by Bite: A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders | Unwanted Life | Mental Health and Wellness

Getting Better Bite by Bite: A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder


Ken Goss

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A picture of the book - Overcoming Binge Eating, Second Edition: The Proven Program to Learn Why You Binge and How You Can Stop (2nd New edition) | Unwanted Life | Mental Health and Wellness

Overcoming Binge Eating 2nd Edition: The Proven Program to Learn Why You Binge and How You Can Stop


Christopher Fairburn

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A picture of the book - The Compassionate Mind Approach to Beating Overeating by Kenneth Goss | Unwanted Life | Mental Health and Wellness

The Compassionate Mind Approach to Beating Overeating Using Compassion Focused Therapy


Ken Goss

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If you’d like to check out all the books Beat recommends, such as those for people caring for someone suffering from an eating disorder, then you can do so by clicking here.


As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with Beat and eating disorders in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.


Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.





Further Information




Binge Eating Disorder

Beat’s Downloads & Resources



Global Crisis Lines and Support

UK Crisis Lines and Support

37 thoughts on “Beat: How Their Eating Disorders Web Chat Works

  1. Insightful post! I’m sorry that you haven’t been taken seriously. I’m really shocked that you’ve been treated this way for so long especially as you’ve developed health problems. Eating disorders have been in the spotlight and people know how harmful they are so I can’t understand why they won’t give you the help you need. I think this is the case for so many mental health disorders, they’re not taken seriously or treated until it’s too late.

    In terms of Beat, you explained it well: it’s a good place to start. I think the limitations of apps and hotlines are that the people behind them are only trained to say very limited things (only sign posting) and aren’t allowed to do more. It’s a liability issue which unfortunately can be disappointing for a lot of users. It’s a good resource though and a good place to start so it is something I guess!

    Great explanation and review that was very informative.

    • You make a good point, it’s a fairly common complaint about hotline and crisis line services that they can be quite limited. I’ve had a few discussions with people about that so they didn’t stop using the crisis lines if they felt suicidal or thinking about self-harm by reframing how they see the service.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts

  2. It’s so tough when people suffer with eating disorders, anxiety, depression etc. My experience is similar to yours in a way, not eating disorder but anxiety. I find the waiting times to see counsellers far too long, and paying private is out of the question. It’s so sad how these professionals kept passing the book and not taking you seriously. It’s a good website you’ve discovered though.

  3. This blog was eye opening for sure, thank you for being so honest! I really hope you find the help you are looking for, and Beat doesn’t sound half bad for a start! Thanks so much to sharing!

  4. This sounds like a great piece of the recovery puzzle for those who are battling their own demons. I’ve been fighting with my eating disorder off and on for most of my life, including a variety of different treatment options. That being said, I feel like there are times where having this resource would have made a big difference for me.

  5. This sounds like a helpful service for those living in the UK. Good luck with getting the support you require.

  6. I find it continuously terrible that the people who make it their jobs to help people then treat people who need help as if their conditions are not important or do not need treatment. Beat sounds like an interesting service to reach out for help and it is nice that they did not rush you through your conversation. I love that they offer groups.

    It is also nice that they suggest some further reading material! Thanks for sharing your experience with Beat; it is always good to have a place to start.

  7. Wow, what a great post. I really had never heard of Beat, but by reading your article they sound like a lovely organization that wants to help people with their problems. I am sorry that they couldn’t meet your exact needs, but it does sound like they could still help a lot of other people. It is really great of you to bring Beat to light for others who may be needing this type of service. Keep up the great work!

  8. Services like this can be life savers. This sounds like a helpful service for those living in the UK. Good luck with getting the support you require.

  9. These days many people are suffering from eating disorders. Its nice you have brought this topic to light.Thanks for sharing this post.

    • Im not sure I could work with children, it’s difficult enough supporting adult who have suffered abuse, I don’t know how I could react to children who are going through it when often your hands are tied

  10. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It’s something that should always be taken seriously. There is so much i don’t know. I’m glad there are resources out there like The Beat to help people.

  11. Thank you for sharing this informative post. It can be really hard to reach out for help, but it’s really wonderful that you’re making these resources easier to find!

  12. I think it’s great that you checked out this resource – every resource isn’t a fit for everyone – it’s takes trials like this to figure out what fills your need

    • I rarely hate talking on the phone and avoid it whenever possible, so it seemed like a good ideas to write about this form of communication with me trying it out for my own issues

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