Harnessing peer support from lived experience of BDD

in relation to the BDD Foundation’s ‘Structured Support Groups’ – now known as the ‘Overcoming BDD Programme’ with Hannah Lewis and Alanah Bagwell.

We hear too often that people with BDD fall through the gaps between primary and secondary care and are left unable to access this treatment which is vital for recovery from BDD. As a charity, we responded to the inconsistencies in statutory mental health care provision by establishing a Structured Support Group (Now known as Overcoming BDD Programme), where we deliver evidence-based CBT in a group format online. We also enable peer support both between participants of the group and from our team of Peer Facilitators who all have their own experiences of BDD. The pilot phase ran from 2018-2021, where we conducted three iterations of the pilot project. We collected lots of feedback from both our participants and our Peer Facilitators, so that we could evaluate its success and make improvements. This talk will explore the role of peer support in the BDD Foundation’s online CBT-BDD programme and will provide a chance to hear from former participants on how accessing peer support has been so vital for their recovery.

Hannah works at the BDD Foundation co-ordinating the peer-delivered group-CBT project for BDD. She is a PhD researcher at Queen Mary, University of London where she studies culturally inclusive prevention strategies for eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder – both of which she has lived experience of.

Alanah has worked for the BDD Foundation as a structured support group facilitator. She is currently finishing her two-year MSc in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice at UCL and The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. Alanah has lived experience of BDD and has raises awareness about BDD through newspaper/magazine articles, documentaries, podcasts and as a speaker for the BDD Foundation Conference in 2016.

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The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Charity no. 1153753.