NHS figures revealed today by the BBC show that the number of boys admitted to hospital for treatment for eating disorders has doubled since 2010.
Reacting to the figures, Beat’s Director of External Affairs Tom Quinn said, “There is increasing awareness that, contrary to stereotypes, eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect people of all genders and backgrounds.
“But boys do still face barriers to getting treatment, and on average it takes nearly three times as long for males to get a referral from their GP for an eating disorder. We need to continue to challenge stigma and misunderstanding, and ensure anyone who is ill can access treatment fast.
“In particular, more must be done to ensure all local eating disorder services have the resources and funding to provide intensive community care early in the stages of illness. While this rise in male admissions to hospital for eating disorders doesn't necessarily mean the problem is getting worse, it is clear that there is a vital need for treatment to prevent these serious mental illnesses getting worse and reduce the need for inpatient help.”
"We also need more research into the causes of eating disorders and how they can best be treated and even prevented."
Aiden, who fell ill when he was 16, said that due to stigma he “suffered in silence for five years, and this led to me putting in place plans to take my own life.” When he did finally seek help, his GP referred him to a specialist outpatient service in his home town, which he said help save his life.
He added “As boys, there seems to be a societal perception that to talk about mental illness is weak, but me and thousands of other men like me are living proof that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. The key to any recovery is catching it early and more importantly being 100% open.”