Beat welcomes Theresa May's comments

Posted 09/01/2017

“Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, welcomes the Prime Minister’s speech today about mental health. For too long mental health has been underfunded and the results of this lack of investment are clear to see; right now, we are letting people with eating disorders down. We strongly hope that this pledge from the Government today shows their true commitment to prioritising mental health.

“We recognise that there are many parts of the NHS that are under tremendous pressure but if the Government is serious about parity of esteem they must show it. We need to see proper funding of mental health with money spent on the frontlines not siphoned off to other parts of the NHS.

“The publication of waiting times for children with eating disorders in April are an important indicator of the Government’s commitment to tackling mental illness and we are expecting results. We expect the Government to ensure that no part of the country continues to fail young people with eating disorders.

“We are pleased to hear of the training in schools, the workplace and communities to increase knowledge and understanding of mental illness, including eating disorders. The sooner someone with an eating disorder receives the treatment they need the more likely they are to make a full and fast recovery. We will support the Government in any way we can on this important initiative.”

Please note you can also find Beat’s media guidelines here.


Tom Quinn is available for further comment as are our media volunteers – individuals who are recovered or in recovery from their eating disorder and are happy to speak to the media about their experiences.

An example is Amy. Amy was 14 when she first went to the doctors with her eating problems and was told to go to the gym. Although she continued to seek treatment she was told her weight wasn’t low enough for the treatment available. At 21 she was rushed to A&E with heart failure but still wasn’t able to access specialist eating disorder treatment. Once her BMI hit a dangerous level at which point she was offered treatment miles away from her home and was discharged once her weight had been ‘restored’ even though she still felt mentally unwell. Amy said “If I had been treated early it would not have got to the stage it did. Furthermore, if I had gotten more funding my future would have been easier- I feel I needed more longer treatment to really recover as I still suffer now.”  

About Beat

  • Beat is the UK’s eating disorder charity.  We support anyone with an eating disorder, their friends and family, as well as professionals working with or worried about an individual in their care.
  • We provide information and support through:-
  1. Youth and adult helplines which people can call or email
  2. Online support including information, message boards and online support groups
  3. HelpFinder, an online directory of support services.
  • We also work together with service providers to complement their services with additional support outside of a clinical setting.  We currently run projects for young people in transition, offer additional online support, deliver care skills workshops for parents and guardians and run face to face support groups in areas across the country.
  • Research is vital to knowledge and understanding.  We support and engage with research into eating disorders through patient experiences, socio-economic and related studies that impact service improvements.  We use our expertise to provide training, resources and consultancy to health and social care professionals and schools.
  • Beat campaigns to influence the way treatment is provided.  Helping us to raise awareness are Young Ambassadors, young people aged 14-25 with personal experience of an eating disorder.  Fully trained and supported by Beat they inspire others with the message that recovery is possible.

About eating disorders

  • Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.
  • Over 725,000 in the UK have a diagnosed eating disorder
  • They affect people of all ages and backgrounds, and up to 1 in 4 sufferers are male.
  • Eating disorders cost the UK’s economy £16.8billion every year.
  • Anorexia nervosa claims more lives than any other mental illness.  Many people will die prematurely from the physical consequences or suicide.
  • Eating disorders are complex and there is no one single cause why someone develops an eating disorder. A whole range of different factors combine such as genetic, psychological, environmental, social and biological influences.  Latest research is showing eating disorders are more biologically based than was previously thought.
  • Although serious, eating disorders are treatable conditions and full recovery is possible. The sooner someone gets the treatment they need, the more likely they are to make a full recovery. We know at Beat from our daily contact with people affected, they can and do make a full recovery – living a life no longer dominated by fear of food.