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The fight against eating disorders

February 28, 2019 4:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and like so many other mental illnesses, people with an eating disorder do not get the help they need and deserve.

I've been fighting for months for better treatment for people with eating disorders by calling for earlier intervention, better training for doctors and new standardised waiting times.

Over one million people, including both men and women, in the UK suffer from an eating disorder. To them we say: You are not alone. We must do better at providing you with the treatment and support you need earlier".

People who suffer from eating disorders are often ashamed to share their story, living in the shadows and having many years of their lives taken away from them because access to treatment is poor.

One of the brave people who did want to share her story with us, is Hope:

"The difficulty with eating disorders is that there is a huge lack of understanding around the complexities of them. This cuts across society as a whole and we don't fully comprehend the impact that simple procedures or statements have on those struggling. Living with anorexia is like living with your best friend and worst enemy in your head all at the same time." Hope Virgo

Dr Elizabeth McNaught, now an NHS doctor but once an anorexia patient says:

"I will be forever grateful for the dedication and expertise of the health professionals who treated me in my emergency admission to a General Hospital, subsequent six months in an in-patient unit and years in community care. Looking back on that time I realise how fortunate I was. After my first visit to a GP it was only a matter of days before I had an appointment with CAMHS. And after my hospital discharge it was only a matter of weeks before an inpatient place was available - and that was in a unit only minutes away from my home."

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a penny in the pound on income tax to direct additional investment in mental health so people like Hope, Elizabeth and many others get the help they need and deserve. Will you join our campaign?