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Everybody knows somebody - Eating Disorders are more common than you think 11 February 2013

All this week, the Department of Health’s Mental Health Service will be holding a series of events to promote ‘Eating Disorders Awareness Week’. Eating Disorders Awareness is a chance to understand Eating Disorders as well as challenge the stereotypes and stigma surrounding eating issues. The Mental Health Service together with colleagues from Noble's Hospital and the Manx Eating Disorder Support Group will be providing information and holding talks on eating disorders.

There will be a free public information session at the iMuseum, Kingswood Grove, Douglas, on Wednesday 13 February, from 6.30pm - 7.30pm. This session will include a series of talks and the chance to find out more information about Eating Disorders. There will be representatives available to talk to from the Community Mental Health Team, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team, Noble's Hospital Dietetics Department, and the Manx Eating Disorders Support Group.

Member for Mental Health Services, Leonard Singer MHK, said:

“Eating Disorders Awareness Week provides an ideal opportunity for Mental Health Services and other groups to work together in raising awareness of Eating Disorders. The information sessions will do exactly that, giving the public valuable information and insight to help us all understand more about Eating Disorders and how we can support those who are affected by them. People can and do make a full recovery from Eating Disorders. It is important for us all to be aware that the support and help we can provide to those experiencing an Eating Disorder can play a pivotal role in the path to recovery.”

Julie Bennion, Specialist in Mental Health Promotion, said:

“This year’s awareness week is about encouraging people to help a person they know. The UK charity b-eat say ‘...whether it’s your girlfriend, a work colleague, your best friend or your brother – reach out, talk to them and offer support.’ There are lots of things that we can do to help someone beat an eating disorder. It is important to remember that the sooner someone gets the help and support they need, the better their chances are to make a full recovery.

“One of the first steps is to just be there for your family member or friend: to listen and support in a non-judgemental way. Another way is to find out as much as you can about Eating Disorders. Learning the facts about Eating Disorders will help you understand how a person can be affected and behave while also providing you with tips on how you can support them effectively. This is what these sessions are all about, getting the information to be able to reach out, help and support someone you know.”

Whilst about 80% of new cases are young women aged between 12 and 25, Eating Disorders can affect anyone at any age (b-eat 2012). A survey undertaken by UK NHS information centres estimates that of those with eating disorders:

  • 10% are Anorexic Nervosa,
  • 40% are Bulimic, and
  • The remaining 50% fall into the EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) category, including those with binge eating disorder.

There will also be displays and information available throughout the following week at the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education.

If you would like further information on Eating Disorders or on supporting someone who has an Eating Disorder please contact, Julie Bennion, Specialist in Mental Health Promotion, by telephoning 642837.

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