Ten thousand children receive treatment for an eating disorder in the space of nine months

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According to the latest figures, the NHS is treating a record number of children and young people (CYPs) for eating disorders.

Between April and December last year, almost 10,000 CYPs started treatment for eating disorders, which is an increase of more than a quarter compared to the same period the previous year.

The increased demand for mental health services during the pandemic has seen an additional £79 million dedicated to children’s mental health, which will enable an additional 2,000 CYP to start treatment for eating disorders.

Claire Murdoch, NHS director of mental health, said: “NHS services have remained open throughout the pandemic as hardworking mental health staff have worked to provide care for more people than ever before. previously.

“The NHS continues to see record numbers of young people with eating disorders and it is essential that anyone who may need care comes forward as quickly as possible so that the NHS can provide you with all the care you need. might need.

“Parents can find information about potential symptoms, such as binge eating, feelings of guilt after eating and negative self-image, and other signs of a potential eating disorder are available at the NHS website and they should not hesitate to contact the NHS if they think their child might need support”.

The pandemic is believed to have dramatically increased the number of children needing access to mental health services due to the unpredictability of COVID-19 and the isolation and disruption of young people‘s daily lives.

Every year, mental health services will receive an additional £2.3billion under the NHS long-term plan.

In statistics published by the NHS, 59% of children in emergencies begin treatment within a week of referral, in routine cases this drops to 26.4%.

In the same published data, the NHS revealed there were 203 incomplete pathways for urgent cases in the third quarter of 2021-2022 and 1,918 incomplete pathways for routine cases.

Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, NHS associate clinical director for child and young people’s mental health and psychiatrist, has listed ways in which family, friends and carers of those with an eating disorder can help to support them here.

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