Alex's Answer

How do I help my friend who wants to become anorexic

Your Question

My friend recently told me she wants to become anorexic, what should I do to help her?


Hi there, 

Thank you for getting in touch with us here at Ask Alex with your question.  

From what you are saying, it sounds like you are worried about what your friend said to you, and you are wondering how you can help her. It is completely natural you would be thinking of how you can help your friend when she has told you something like this. You sound like a really caring person and someone that she can trust and share things with. But it is also okay to not know how exactly to help. 

If your friend wants to talk about what she is going through, you can give her the space to share how she is feeling and just be there for her. It is amazing to have a friend that supports you and listens to what you say. You could also ask her what she needs from you, as everyone has different ways of getting through difficult times and this shows your friend you are not just assuming you know what works best for her. 

We would say that it would be very important that your friend reaches out to a trusted adult in their life who may be able to help them access further supports. We know this may not be easy, if she doesn’t feel like sharing what she’s going through with an adult, but it is vital that she gets any additional supports she needs. Maybe someone like a GP could help point her to other supports. 

There is an organisation called Bodywhys, that provide information and support for people going through eating disorders, along with their family and friends. They have a helpline that offers confidential support and information, where you can talk through something (the number is 01 2107906), you can check their website for the opening hours as they vary throughout the week . People going through an eating disorder can call the helpline, but so can friends or family who are worried about someone. If you would rather not phone, they also have an email support service – [email protected]; and there is a chat support group called YouthConnect for people with eating disorders aged 13 – 18. Maybe this is something that your friend could have a look at?  

When someone we care about is going through something difficult, that has an impact on us too. It is so important that you look after yourself during this time as well and to be aware of the effect it has on your own wellbeing. Make sure you take some time for yourself, and the things you enjoy doing and make you feel good. Talking to a supportive adult in your own life could help you. There are some articles on the Childline website around eating disorders, which may be of help to you too  

If either you or your friend want to talk to someone confidentially, we are always here at Childline, any time of the day or night. You can give us a call on 1800 66 66 66 or chat with us through our LiveChat at (click on the orange Live Chat tab). Both services are open 24/7, and the Team will chat with you about what options may be available to you both. Childline is non-judgmental so it is a safe space for all young people who want to chat.  

Take care of yourself, you are a very supportive person, 


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