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The Bariatric Psychology service works alongside your dietitian, specialist nurse and surgical team to provide you with support in your weight-loss journey.

Bariatric surgery involves making a permanent alteration to your body, as well as lifestyle changes before and after surgery, so it’s important that you are prepared, physically and emotionally.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, you will receive an appointment for a pre-surgery psychological assessment.

Who will carry out the psychological assessment?

You will be asked to complete a set of questionnaires before your appointment. These make up an important part of your assessment so if they are not completed and returned to us before your appointment we may need to rearrange your assessment until we receive them.

During your appointment you will meet with a clinical psychologist who is part of the bariatric surgery team.

What will happen at the psychology assessment appointment?

The appointment will usually last about an hour. The psychologist will ask questions about your reasons for surgery, your view of your current body shape, your understanding of the surgery and its side-effects, and motivation to make the necessary lifestyle changes required. We will also ask you about your psychological wellbeing and any specific eating-related difficulties such as emotional eating or eating disorders.

Can I bring someone with me to my psychology assessment?

Many patients like to bring someone with them to their bariatric surgery assessment appointment either for support or to help with practical arrangements such as parking.

The assessment is a one to one appointment with you, and often patients prefer to see the psychologist on their own as they may not wish to share all of the information discussed with someone else. You are welcome to bring the person accompanying you to your appointment if you wish.

What happens after surgery?

The Bariatric Psychology service, along with the dietitians and nurses offer some post-operation support sessions which you are welcome to attend. These take place online and usually include a talk on a subject area and time for discussion, meeting and sharing information with other weight loss service-users and asking any questions you may have.

There will be ups and downs as part of a person’s weight-loss journey. These sessions are an important tool, providing support through the whole journey to help you get the best outcome from your surgery.

The bariatric psychology service does not offer one-to-one psychological support but if you identify that you would benefit from some additional psychological input wither before or after your surgery, we can signpost or refer you to an appropriate service. We have also created a list of helpful resources and links, including how to access free NHS talking therapy, which can be found below.

We always recommend that you discuss any changes to your emotional wellbeing or health with your GP who can also refer you to appropriate support.

Meet the team

  • Dr Elaine Johnston, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
  • Dr Elizabeth Samuel, Clinical Psychologist

Any questions

Please get in touch with our Bariatrics Coordinator, Katherine Bedford on 01892 635697 or email

Support with eating disorders and weight management

Weight management peer support groups

  • WLS Info‘s website  has details of national surgical weight-loss support groups
  • Obesity UK has online support groups.

Bariatric surgery support and useful reading

Urgent mental health support

For urgent help and support, call NHS 111.

Alternatively, you can call the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT)  Single Point of Access free 24-hour helpline on 0800 783 9111.

Those with a hearing impairment should call 0786 002 2819.

  • Mental Health Matters is a confidential service run by trained staff which you can call any time, any day. Call 0800 107 0160 or email
    • The website has a webchat feature where you can chat to a professional online, if you do not want to talk on the telephone.
  • The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They also have a self-help app you can download and use to help track how you are feeling and get recommendations for things you can do to help yourself cope, feel better and stay well in a crisis.
  • Safe Havens is a walk-in service (no need for referral) offering welcoming, non-clinical, non-judgemental, safe environments. You can visit just for a chat or access one-to-one emotional support from trained mental health professionals.  They also offer help in creating staying well and crisis plans, and support you to accesses other services and organisations that may be useful

Psychological support

You can self-refer or ask your GP or any healthcare professional to refer you for NHS talking therapy.

Alcohol related support

  • Change Grow Live is a national charity providing advice and signposting to those who would like support with addictions.
  • We Are With You is a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families and communities manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.

Smoking cessation support

Practical support

  • Live Well Kent can provide a range of support from healthy living, to accessing counselling, managing your money and making new friends. Call 0800 5677699
  • If you are vulnerable and need urgent support that cannot be met through existing support networks, Kent Together can help make sure you have enough food and supplies, pick up prescriptions, (except in Tunbridge Wells), and make sure you have someone to talk to by phone, Skype or Facetime.
    • Complete the online form on their website or call their helpline on 03000 41 92 92 (text relay 18001 03000 41 92 92)
  • Porchlight help people manage any issues affecting their day-to-day life and their ability to live independently. Porchlight help vulnerable and isolated people get support with their mental health, housing, education and employment. Visit their website or call 0800 567 7699.
  • Red Zebra is a charity providing a range of services across Kent enabling people to be involved and active in their communities. Services include Ageless Thanet, social prescribing and a volunteer car service. Visit their website or call 01227 262313.
  • Set up by the government, the Money Advice Service offers free and impartial money advice. It also offers advice and guides to help improve your finances, tools and calculators to help keep track and plan ahead alongside support over the phone and online. Visit their website or call 0800 138 7777.
  • StepChange debt charity, offers solutions via its online debt counselling service, Debt Remedy. This charity can offer tailored advice and practical solutions such as bankruptcy advice, debt management plans and equity release. Visit their website or call 0800 138 1111.
  • Kent Karrier is a dial-a-ride service. It will take you from your home to set locations, such as the nearest town centre or supermarket. Services operate within Ashford, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Swale, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Thanet and North West and South East clusters. The South East scheme encompasses Dover, Shepway (Folkestone and Hythe), and Canterbury. The North West scheme encompasses Gravesham, Dartford and north Sevenoaks. Call 03000 413 567.
  • Carers Support is a charity providing family carers with the information and support that they need, via phone, email, online, text and in person. Visit their website, call 0300 302 0061 or email
  • Crossroads Care provide care services to allow family carers to maintain a life of their own outside of their caring roles. Visit their website or call 03450 956 701.