‘My teacher saved my life’ versus ‘Teachers don't have a clue’: an online survey of pupils’ experiences of eating disorders

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Background:Eating disorders (ED) have a peak rate of onset in school-aged children. Little is known about pupils’ experiences of ED within a school setting.Method:Five hundred and eleven 11- to 19-year-old school pupils completed an online questionnaire exploring their experiences of ED (72% female, 28% male). Responses were analysed using content analysis principles.Results:Of the participants, 38% had a current or past ED, 49% of these had never received a formal diagnosis. Of the respondents, 59% saw a need to raise ED awareness. Only 7% would confide in a teacher about an ED.Conclusions:Efforts are needed to break down barriers to disclosure and support teachers to play an effective role in the detection and early intervention for ED.

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