Recently watched the Panorama programme dedicated to eating disorders in men and boys presented by Nigel Owens the Rugby referee. Worrying stats were revealed of young men being affected by eating disorders with 42% increase in referrals over the last two years.
As with most mental illnesses intervention early really does aid success for recovery. Sadly youngsters wait far too long for referrals for support help and often are turned down because of shortage of staff and a variety of other factors.
We all keep hearing how the government are investing billions into this area with aims to see children within four weeks, one week for real emergencies! In reality this will be impossible to achieve meanwhile a lot of male youngsters suffer in silence.
The documentary covered various cases demonstrating the devestating affects on the body and mind with 13 -17 most at high risk. It revealed facts from support agencies; Beat charity receive 20,000 calls a year. Often eating disorders are viewed as ‘female illnesses’ when this is clearly no longer the case – even so this ‘assumption’ can make it harder for parents and GP’s to recognise/diagnose.
As ever modern media plays its part in making youngsters concerned about their visual appearance and so it starts. Often eating disorders are associated with boys who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality too.
Nigel closed the episode by saying it is a strength to admit one has a problem not a weakness, and advising viewers not to be like him still suffering some 27 years on. Get help and stay one step a head and have a chance of recovering.