This project is under way, and will run until March 2022.

  • Run by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with King’s College London. 
  • Involves promoting FREED, an early intervention service for young people (16–25 years) with eating disorders, as a national and international service delivery model.
  • The FREED service has spread and is currently running in eight services across six NHS Trusts, covering 20 per cent of the English population.   
  • Will develop tailored resources to facilitate ongoing dissemination and evaluation of FREED.

Eating disorders are severe mental health conditions that usually start in adolescence or early adulthood. The first three years of illness offer a window for early, effective intervention in order to achieve a full recovery, but poor access to services remains a key barrier to this.

The FREED (First episode Rapid Early intervention for Eating Disorders) programme has been shown to reduce treatment waiting times and the duration of untreated eating disorders in young people who have had an eating disorder for less than three years.

FREED interventions include a rapid screening and assessment protocol, evidence-based guided self-help interventions and psychological therapies for patients and carers, and an implementation toolkit for staff and services.

The FREED-UP: First episode and Rapid Early intervention service for young people with Eating Disorders – UPscaled project, completed in 2018, demonstrated the scalability of the FREED approach by implementing it across four specialist eating disorder services in Greater London and Yorkshire.

This Spreading Improvement project will continue this successful scale up by promoting FREED as a national and international service delivery model.

A host of tailored resources (online, written and filmed) and learning events will facilitate ongoing scaling and dissemination in different settings, supported by a dedicated FREED team.

The aim is to make FREED available to over two-thirds of the UK population, and five million people in Ireland, by 2021.

FREED has been cited as a model of good practice in the NHS England Adult Eating Disorders Guidelines 2019, and this project aims to support NHS Trusts in its implementation.

Contact information

For more information, please contact:

  • Danielle Glennon, Clinical Service Lead, Eating Disorders Outpatient and Day Patient Team, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Professor Ulrike Schmidt, Head of Eating Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, Neuroscience, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

About this programme


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