Help for anyone with an eating disorder

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HEALTH bosses are teaming up with a support group this week to help people affected by eating disorders.

All this week, the Department of Health’s mental health service will be holding a series of events to promote ‘eating disorders awareness week’.

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 from 6.30pm till 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 health specialists and the Manx Eating Disorders Support Group.

Julie Bennion, a 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.’

The Department of Health says there are lots of things that others can do to help someone beat an eating disorder and that the earlier a sufferer gets help, the better it will be.

‘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,’ said Ms Bennion.

‘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.’

While about 80 per cent 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 per cent have anorexic nervosa,

· 40 per cent are bulimic, and

· The remaining 50 per cent 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.

If you would like further information on eating disorders or on supporting someone who has an eating disorder contact, Julie Bennion, specialist in mental health promotion, by telephoning 642837.

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