Eating disorders can affect anyone. No question.

We hear too many of your stories telling us that because you don’t fit eating disorder stereotypes, it has been difficult to find or come forward for treatment. During Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2019 we’re asking you to join our campaign, show eating disorders do not discriminate, and that everyone who gets one deserves fast, high-quality treatment. 

Stereotypes would have you believe that eating disorders are not serious illnesses and they always take the same form, that only white middle-class women and girls suffer. These stereotypes are dangerous, they discourage people from seeking help, make it less likely for employers and, in some cases, healthcare professionals to take them seriously and also it makes them harder to be spotted by the sufferer or a loved one.

We commissioned a YouGov poll to find out more about perceptions of eating disorders, this is what it found:

  • 39% of adults in the UK mistakenly believe eating disorders more commonly affect white people. 
  • Six out of ten UK adults mistakenly believe eating disorders mainly affect young people.
  • 37% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people say they would not feel confident seeking help about eating disorders from healthcare professionals compared to 24% of straight people.
  • Only 52% of people from minority ethnicities would feel confident asking for help about eating disorders from healthcare professionals - compared to 64% of white British people.

By their nature, eating disorders are secretive and stigmatised. We know how hard it can be to ask for treatment and it is even harder if a person doesn’t meet the expectations of what a person with an eating disorder ‘should’ look like. This is wrong. It has to change.

Together, we need to break down barriers, help people to understand that they are deserving of help and support no matter their eating disorder diagnosis, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age or background.

This Eating Disorders Awareness Week help us put stories of how eating disorders affect people from all walks of life in the spotlight and stand together to demand the support that those affected need and deserve.