Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This week (25th February – 3rd March) is Eating Disorders Awareness Week. People all over the world are getting together to support Beat in their efforts to break down the barriers and stereotypes that prevent people from getting early help for their disorder. To find out how you can get involved and read people’s recovery stories visit the Beat website.

Eating disorders can affect anyone. Currently in the UK, there are estimated to be 1.25 million people with an eating disorder.[1] Conditions which fall under the eating disorder umbrella can have devastating effects both in the long and short term. On average, the initial condition first develops between the ages of 16 and 17, though it can develop much or earlier or later. In adolescence, Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, out of those who survive the condition 50% recover, 30% improve and 20% remain chronically ill.[2]

Tes: “Tes talks to… Megan Jayne Crabbe and Joeley Bishop”

Because keeping children, young people and adults at risk safe from harm underpins all we do here, we wanted to draw your attention to a Tes article with author and Anorexia Nervosa survivor Megan Jayne Crabbe (otherwise known as @bodyposipanda on Instagram), and teacher and trainee counsellor Joeley Bishop.

The article recognises that schools are under increasing pressure to support their students on a wide range of issues, and that teachers are already ready juggling exceedingly large workloads. They understand that teachers are already under a huge amount of pressure, so give some guidance on what schools can do to support and safeguard students.

Schools need to be teaching children that good health looks different on everyone. You can have healthy habits at every size. If we teach kids to eat a varied diet and move for the joy of it, then that is teaching them to be healthy.

Megan Jayne Crabbe

The pair discuss Megan’s experience of her eating disorder, the way this was dealt with by her school and the impact this had on her classmates (including Joeley) and those around her. The article highlights the role that teachers and other staff that come into contact with children and young people have in influencing children and young people.

To ignore the body-image problem that young people have is to ignore their potential. You can’t be the best student you can be unless you feel good about yourself to start with.

Joeley Bishop

Schools and School Staff Can Make A Difference

They explain that role of schools and teachers is of paramount importance. Schools today do so much more than before to support children and young people, but more needs to be done. They suggest bringing in advocates to talk during sessions or assemblies as a way of encouraging students to learn about body positivity and the different resources available to them if they are experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder.

I spoke in a school recently to a group of Year 11 girls. They were silent throughout, but afterwards they stayed to ask questions and some burst into tears. They told me that they weren’t used to talking about it – that they didn’t know that it was OK to do that.

Megan Jayne Crabbe

You can read the full article here.

Recording Mental Health Issues With MyConcern

MyConcern can be used to record, report and monitor all mental health problems (such as eating disorders) affecting children, young people and adults at risk. Safeguarding Leads can use our pool of over 130 categories of concern (e.g. ‘Mental Health’/ ’Eating Disorder’/ ‘Anxiety’) to help build up a detailed picture of the issues experienced by those in their care. Providing Safeguarding Leads with this high level view means that they are able to put teams in place to support those in their care and enables them to intervene earlier for better recovery outcomes.

Other Useful Resources

Written by Sam Franklin

References:

[1] https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/media-centre/eating-disorder-statistics

[2] http://www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/about/statistics