Home/Posts/Mental Health, Training, Volunteers, Youth Ministry Resources/Mental Health Series: Practical Ways to Care for Teenagers With…. Feeding and Eating Disorders

Mental Health Series: Practical Ways to Care for Teenagers With…. Feeding and Eating Disorders

Feeding and Eating disorders are often characterized by an unhealthy relationship with food, whether that is through excessive eating or refusal to eat enough to maintain a healthy weight, and a distorted body image. Although more often diagnosed in girls, boys are also diagnosed but can be missed because it is harder to spot. Not everyone with an eating disorder appears underweight, eating disorders appear all over the spectrum. 

The most common feeding and eating disorders we see in students include anorexia, bulimia, and purge eating. Anorexia can be characterized by a refusal to eat, excessive weight loss, and distorted body image. A person with anorexia believes they are too fat, while everyone else sees them as far too thin. Bulimia can be characterized by frequent binge eating, followed by purging and/or strenuous dieting. Unlike anorexia, bulimia is often recognized by a normal weight or somewhat overweight. Binge eating is often accompanied by a feeling of having lost control, and often done in secret accompanied by shame and guilt. Similar to bulimia, weight is normal or overweight, however binge eating disorder is not accompanied by trying to get rid of the food by purging. 


4 Practical Ways to Support a Student with an Eating Disorder: 

1.Have Healthy Snacks Available

  • Keep healthy snacks in your office, the youth room, kitchen, etc. 
  • Fruits, Veggies, Granola Bars, Popcorn, Nuts, Pretzels, etc.  

2. Offer Support  

  • Be there to support them along their recovery journey. 
  • Show compassion and understanding. 
  • Be aware of how you talk about body image in your group.

3. Be Extra Aware at Camps and Retreats 

  • Be aware of how much the student is eating, watch if they have skipped meals. 
  • Have volunteers keep eyes their peeled for any students who have missed multiple meals, etc.
  • Require all students and leaders to attend meals.  
  • If doing high energy activities, make a deal on how much or what they need to eat in order to do the activity. 
  • Have them bring food you know they will eat.  

4. Partner with Parents  

  • If you notice a student not eating consistently, or recognize other signs of an eating disorder, talk with the parent.  
  • If they are already aware, find out what their plan is and how you can support the student.



National Eating Disorder Association 

When Your Teen Has an eating disorder: Practical Strategies to Help Your Teen Recover from Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating 



Want to start conversations about Mental Health in your youth group? Check out a brand new Mental Health series at Download Youth Ministry:

My Friend is Struggling With

This 4-week series addresses mental health from a physical, mental, and spiritual perspective. Mental illnesses are real and daunting, but even in the middle of it, there can be hope. The first week gives a mental health overview, the second week addresses depression, the third week addresses anxiety, and the fourth week addresses suicide.

For the month of May, 100% of the proceeds for this resource will go to a scholarship fund to help youth workers with a mental health challenge see a counselor. If you are interested in this scholarship, you can fill out the application here.



Michelle lives in Idaho with her husband where they love to spend time outdoors, go on new adventures, and find the best chicken wings and coffee places. She also possess the ability to kill any plant that comes into their home. She also is the Co-Host of the Middle School Ministry Podcast. Listen here!

About the Author:


  1. Steven Baker April 12, 2023 at 10:40 am - Reply

    To say that the overwhelming majority of service reviews is controversial is to say nothing. Most students emphasize delayed delivery, poor communication with the support team, and low overall quality of the papers. https://bestpaperwritingservicereviews.com/reviews/writersperhour-review

  2. UMR Provider Portal May 12, 2023 at 3:00 am - Reply

    Thanks for the information.. United Medical Resources Provider Portal

  3. Meeloun April 8, 2024 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    An excellent assignment ghostwriting http://www.cieae.net/assignment company not only has a good reputation and customer feedback, but also offers a variety of services and resources to meet the various needs of customers.

Leave A Comment

Go to Top