What is STRIDES?
Do you experience any of the following?
- Feeling very preoccupied with thoughts about food and eating
- Worrying a lot about your body weight and shape
- Limiting food intake to manage weight and shape worries
- Compensating for eating (for example, exercising, using laxatives, or vomiting)
- Having food binges (feeling out of control and eating a very large amount of food all at once)
- Feeling like your relationship with food, exercise, or your body is having a negative impact on your life
If so, then STRIDES is here to help and support you.
STRIDES is a team of trained clinicians who support those aged 18-25 with eating difficulties and help lessen the impact of these on their health and wellbeing. Our team is here to listen and support you by providing effective, evidence-based interventions that offer you the chance to find new ways of managing your eating difficulties.
The service is for adults aged 18-25 who are registered with a General Practitioner (GP) in Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Harrow, Hillingdon, and Brent; with additional support available to over 25s at selected university GP practices.
Eating disorders affect people of every age, race, size, gender identity, sexual orientation and background. We are an inclusive service provider, our team consisting of a diverse range of staff, and we support people from all walks of life and communities, for example, people with disabilities, black or ethnic minority backgrounds, LGBTQ+, etc.
We encourage you to get in touch if you are struggling with your eating even if you’re not sure that you have an eating disorder. If we are not the right service to support you, we will help signpost you to the right place to meet your needs.
As we are a psychological therapy service, we cannot accept referrals for individuals with high levels of medical risk relating to their eating disorder (for example, those who are severely underweight or have abnormal blood tests due to their eating disorder). However, we work in partnership with Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service and GPs to ensure that individuals referred to us with higher medical needs can access the appropriate level of support.
We are not a weight management service but if this is something you would like support with we recommend that you speak with your GP about local options.
We offer a range of evidence-based treatments for different eating difficulties. They aim to help you understand your problems and provide you with the practical skills to regulate your eating, manage difficult emotions, and improve your body image in the long-term. They are delivered in a number of different formats (for example, self-help workshops, video-call and face to face sessions) and by various specialist staff including:
- Clinical psychologists
- Occupational therapists
- Other specialist mental health professionals
Laura Fialko (she/her), Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Team Lead
Laura is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and leads the STRIDES team.
She has worked in the NHS with adolescents and young adults since 2010 and is passionate about early intervention and helping people access treatments that work when they first need help.
Apostolos Polymerou (he/him), Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Apostolos is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. He is passionate about early interventions and supporting young people to improve their mental health.
Claire Carrington (she/her), Clinical Nurse Specialist
Claire’s role is a Mental Health Practitioner and the Duty Lead. Claire completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2009 before doing a MSc in Mental Health Nursing. She has worked with eating disorder patients since 2010 across various settings. Prior to joining STRIDES Claire worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Outpatient Liaison team at Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service.
Vanessa Yim (she/her), Clinical Psychologist
Vanessa is a Clinical Psychologist working across STRIDES and the Vincent Square outpatient therapy team. She is passionate about early intervention and supporting young people in their recovery and reaching out to underserved populations.
Amy Thorne (she/her), Clinical Nurse Specialist
Amy is a Mental Health Practitioner working in the STRIDES team. She completed her Mental Health Nursing Degree in 2018. Since then she has worked in services across different specialisms, before working in eating disorder services since 2019 in both an Inpatient ward and the Day Programme.
She is currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Sandra Brooks (she/her), Occupational Therapist
Sandra is a specialist occupational therapist for eating disorders. Sandra completed an undergraduate degree in Sociology in the USA and went on to complete an MSc in Occupational Therapy in southern England. She is experienced in working with patients with eating disorders in outpatient and day programme settings in London. Sandra is eager to advocate for meaningful activities of daily living and support individuals’ process of identity-shaping, through an occupational therapy lens within the STRIDES team.
Emily King (she/her), Senior Assistant Psychologist
Emily is a Senior Assistant Psychologist with the STRIDES team. She has a passion for working with young people and helping make treatment more easily accessible.
Eve Dore (she/her), Senior Assistant Psychologist
Eve is an Assistant Psychologist in the STRIDES team. She has previous primary care experience in IAPT settings. She is really proud and excited to be part of a team that aims to make effective support more accessible to people who are struggling with disordered eating.
Ronelle Bloomfield (she/her), Senior Assistant Psychologist
Ronelle is a Senior Assistant Psychologist within the STRIDES team. She has previous experience working in eating disorders in the Outpatient Therapy Team. She also has previous primary care experience working as a Social Prescriber. She's passionate about working with young people and is keen to be part of a team that aims to support people who are struggling with disordered eating.
Zuzanna Malecka (she/her), Senior Assistant Psychologist
Zuza is a Senior Assistant Psychologist within the STRIDES team. After completing a psychology degree, Zuza went on to complete an MSc in Eating Disorders and Nutrition. Since then, she has been working with young people and adults in eating disorder services across London, meeting them where they are in their journeys.
Zuza is passionate about improving access to support for anyone struggling with disordered eating, at any stage of recovery. Having grown up in Poland, she is also passionate about challenging the barriers to support for those for whom English isn't a first language.
Ailén Mahmoud (she/her), Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Ailén is a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist with the STRIDES team. Before joining STRIDES, she worked in NHS Talking Therapies services.
She is passionate about supporting people with body image issues and disordered eating. She is currently completing a doctorate in Psychology applied to Cognitive Neurosciences.
Use the tabs below to see where you can find us in each borough.
King’s College NHS Health Centre
Address: 3rd Floor Southeast Wing, Bush House, 300 Strand, London WC2B 4PJ
How to get here:
- Closest tube: Temple, Holborn, or Covent Garden
- Train station: Waterloo (15-minute walk)
Westminster Talking Therapies Service – South Site
Address: 190 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1DX
How to get here:
- Underground: Victoria (Victoria, Circle, or District lines)
- Bus: Rochester Road (Numbers 2, 36, 185)
North Westminster Centre for Psychological Wellbeing
Address: 11 Praed Street, London, W2 1NJ
How to get here:
Nearest Underground stations:
- Edgware Road (Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines) - 3 minutes walking
- Paddington (Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines) - 7 minutes walking, 10 minutes by bus 436, 36, 7
Bus stops and Routes:
- Edgware Road/Praed Street: bus numbers 16, 36, 414, 436, N16
- Sussex Gardens: bus numbers 7, 23, 27, 36, 205, 436, N7, N205
- There is no parking on-site. There is street parking available near both premises.
CNWL Hillingdon Talking Therapies Service
Address: Beaufort House, Ground Floor, Cricket Field Road, Uxbridge, UB8 1QG
How to get here:
- Underground: Uxbridge (Piccadilly and Metropolitan)
- Bus: (Numbers 222, 331, 427, U1, U3, U4, U5, U7, U9, U10 and 607
Kensington and Chelsea Talking Therapies Service: St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing
Address: Exmoor Street, London, Greater London, W10 6DZ
How to get here:
- Underground: Ladbroke Grove
- Bus: 18, 316, 52, or 7
Brent Talking Therapies Service
Address: Bell House, 145a High Road Willesden, NW10 2SJ
How to get here:
- Underground: Kingsbury (Jubilee line) – 15 minutes walking, 8 minutes by Bus 204 or 324
- Bus stops and routes: Roe Green (204, 302, 324), Kingsbury Road (183, 302, 653, 683)
- Parking: there is limited parking onsite. There is also street parking available.
CNWL Roxborough Road
Address: 13-17 Roxborough Road, Harrow, HA1 1NS
How to get here:
- Underground: Harrow-on-the-Hill (Metropolitan Line)
Bus stops and routes: Harrow-on-the-Hill station (Numbers 140, 182, 186, 258, 340, 640, 114, 395, 483, H10, H9, H14, H17, HH19)
Referral and assessment process
Please speak to your General Practitioner (GP) or other dedicated healthcare professional and ask them to make a referral on your behalf.
I’ve made a referral, what happens next?
A member of STRIDES team will call you within two working days of receiving your referral to arrange your assessment appointment. You will also be asked to complete and return a set of questionnaires before your assessment to help us better understand your needs.
Please note, if we feel that we are not the best service to support you, we will help refer you to the right service and discuss this with you during the welcome telephone call.
What will my first assessment appointment involve?
Your assessment appointment will last around an hour and will be an opportunity to discuss your eating difficulties and what you’d like support with. The assessment will likely cover the following areas:
- Your current eating routines and difficulties
- Your thoughts and feelings about your eating, weight, and shape
- Your physical health, including your weight
- Any other mental health concerns
At the end of the assessment there will be an opportunity to discuss your treatment options, your care plan, and for you to ask any questions.
FAQs about STRIDES
Everyone’s care reflects their individual needs. Our treatments vary in length from single sessions to several months, but most interventions are 6-12 weeks long. We will discuss your care plan with you after we have completed your initial assessment.
It is helpful to keep in mind that treatment doesn’t only have to begin when you start therapy – there are a number of self-help resources and workshops that you can use to kickstart your recovery as soon as possible – please see the 'further resources and help' section for details.
The treatment you are offered will vary depending on the difficulties you are experiencing. All our treatments are supported by research and informed by the national best practice guidelines for treating eating difficulties.
Our interventions aim to give you better insight into your problems and provide you with the practical skills to help regulate your eating, manage difficult emotions, and improve your body image in the long-term. They are delivered in a number of different formats (for example, self-help workshops, video-call, and face-to-face sessions at any of our open locations).
We would encourage you to get in touch so we can discuss this with you. It is common for people with eating difficulties to think that they’re ‘not sick enough’ to warrant support, but seeking treatment as soon as possible can give you the best chance of making a full recovery.
If we are not the right service to support you, we will help signpost you to the right place to meet your needs.
FAQs about eating disorders
If you are not ready to try and tackle your eating difficulties, you can still speak to your doctor and/or dentist to help you minimise any harm resulting from your eating behaviours.
Please also see the suggested reading and self-help resources below.
Further resources and help
- ‘Overcoming binge-eating’ (2nd edition), by Christopher G. Fairburn.
- ‘Getting better bite by bite’, by Ulrike Schmidt and colleagues.
- ‘Overcoming body image problems’, by David Veale and colleagues
- The Eatwell Guide
- BEAT provides support and information to anyone affected by eating disorders, including sufferers, their family members and friends, professionals and anyone who wants to find out more about eating disorders - Beat website
- NHS Choices
- Information about conditions, treatments and local services - NHS Choices website
- Beat Adult Helpline (over 18s) 0808 201 0677 (Monday to Friday, 12pm to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 4pm to 8pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Beat StudentLine 0808 801 0811 (Monday to Friday, 12pm to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 4pm to 8pm) or email email@example.com
- Beat 1:1 Webchat (Monday to Friday, 12pm to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 4pm to 8pm) access on this website
- Kooth.com (11-25 year olds) and Qwell.io (over 18s) provide free, professional mental health support for those living across North West London, visit gov.kooth.com/nwlondon
- If you feel you are in crisis or at risk of hurting yourself, please:
- Attend your local A & E department or call 999.
- Contact Single Point of Access Mental Health Crisis Line: 0800 0234 650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (open 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year)
- Other helplines
- Samaritans is confidential listening service for people who are suicidal or in despair. Samaritans website Helpline: 116 123 (open 24 hours a day, seven days a week) or email email@example.com
- Text SHOUT to 85258 for free 24/7 mental health text support