New funding for research on remote care for eating …

Dr Dawn Branley-Bell, a health and cybercrime psychologist at the University of Northumbria, received a scholarship from the Medical Research Foundation – one of four projects backed by £ 1.1million in new funding for fight eating disorders and self-harm.


A new project led by Research Innovation Fellow Dr Dawn Branley Bellfrom the University of Northumbria Department of Psychology will explore what we can learn about the causes, prevention and future treatment of eating disorders following the rapid transition to remote care during the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. Recent researchby Dr Branley-Bell suggests that many people with eating disorders have experienced worsening symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic and have reported concerns about the appropriateness of healthcare provided remotely.

These concerns included, for example, individuals seeing each other more often on video calls, giving more opportunities to self-criticize their appearance, or being asked to weigh themselves at home.

Building on his previous research, Dr Branley-Bell will now work alongside people with lived experience of eating disorders, healthcare providers, charities, technology developers and others. experts in the field to identify why symptoms worsened during the pandemic and to explore the challenges experienced with remote treatment.

The project will also examine how technology can be improved to increase the effectiveness and safety of remote treatment of eating disorders. Dr Branley-Bell will work closely with people with lived experience of eating disorders to ultimately co-design new technology and recommendations on how it should be used in the future.

Commenting on her scholarship, Dr Dawn Branley-Bell said: “Even after Covid-19 is under control, there are still many other situations that prevent individuals from accessing face-to-face treatment. Remote care can ensure access to essential help and support. By learning from experiences during the pandemic, this research will help improve our understanding of eating disorders and inform future healthcare, technological design, directions and policies. “

Dr Angela Hind, Executive Director of the Medical Research Foundation, said: “Before the Covid-19 pandemic, eating disorders were already affecting an increasing number of young people. Today, the need for new research perspectives is even greater, as it has been an extremely difficult year for many young people with these devastating conditions.

“We are excited to see what Dr. Branley-Bell’s project reveals about the impact of remote health care for eating disorders. These findings will be crucial as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and will also help guide the treatment of eating disorders in the long term. “

the Medical Research Foundation This program offers postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to start independent and internationally competitive research careers in the field of eating disorders and self-injury.

This research project and the previous investments of the Medical Research Foundation in eating disorders and self-harm research, were made possible by a will donation from Catherine Evans.

Help the Medical Research Foundation continue to support much needed research on eating disorders and self-injury, by joining its team of walkers for the Thames Bridges Trek on September 11, 2021. Read more on their website.

If you are worried about your health or someone else’s health, you can contact Beat, the UK eating disorders charity, on 0808 801 0677 or beateatingdisorders.org.uk

– Ends

Notes to Editors:

Support for the project was offered by the following partners:

  1. Beat, the UK’s largest eating disorder charity. As the largest registered charity in the UK, Beat provides support to people with erectile dysfunction, their family and friends, 365 days a year, including through online resources. Beat is also campaigning to increase the knowledge of healthcare professionals and other professionals, and for better funding of high quality treatment.
  2. NIWE Eating Distress Service, registered charity and company limited by guarantee. NIWE is the only eating disorder charity serving the North East of England. We provide a range of help and resources for people affected by emergencies and their families and friends. We also offer ED awareness training for young people, professionals and caregivers. All services are available online.
  3. Dr Catherine Talbot, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Bournemouth. Dr Talbot is a cyberpsychologist, specializing in social media, health and qualitative methods. She has expertise in conducting and analyzing interviews, focus groups and workshops with a range of groups, including people with ED. Catherine is passionate about public engagement work, having curated an art exhibition based on her work with people with erectile dysfunction – for which she was shortlisted for Elsevier’s Researchers’ Choice Science Communication Award. Dr Talbot is a member of the Cyberpsychology Section of the British Psychological Society Committee. Dr. Branley-Bell worked with Dr. Talbot on the previous research on eating disorders cited in this release.
  4. Virgo Hope, author, mental health activist and ED Ambassador. Virgo is a widely recognized ED Ambassador, published author, mental health activist, research champion for the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) and founder of the #DumpTheScales campaign. It is often featured in major international media.
  5. Lizzie Vass, ED Ambassador. Lizzie is a recognized Beat Ambassador and Lived Experience Advisor who dedicates her time to help provide support to EDs and support research to improve the lives of people with ED.
  6. Red Hat, an international open source software company World-class software publisher Red Hat believes in open source as a way to help communities develop better software by including everyone in project development. They want to promote software that is inclusive and helps members of society.
  7. FHJ Institute of Internet Technologies and Applications, Styria. The FHJ Institute is made up of experts in cybersecurity, privacy, data protection and e-health who encourage working with multidisciplinary teams to transfer their specialist knowledge into real-world applications to help society.

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