As restrictions lift, Beat is turning its attention to the long-term impact of the pandemic on those with eating disorders. The scale of the problem we’re now facing is hard to measure or address, but the picture so far is worrying.
There were three times more children and young people waiting for treatment at the end of 2020 than the end of 2019. On our Helpline, demand for our services is also three times higher. We know NHS staff are working tirelessly, but they are being forced to make difficult decisions about who can receive treatment now and who must wait. In some cases, NHS services are referring people to Beat because they simply can’t treat everyone.
We’re worried those waiting for treatment will become more unwell, putting more lives at risk and locking eating disorder services into a cycle of persistent firefighting.
So we must take action now. We must adapt, we must find creative solutions and we must listen, to those who are ill, their families and NHS staff.