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Early intervention for eating disorders debated in parliament

On Tuesday 27th February, Edward Argar MP for Charnwood, sponsored an adjournment debate on the importance of early intervention for eating disorders. During his speech, he praised the work of Beat as well as our latest research “Delaying for years, denied for months”, which he referred to frequently during the debate.

Edward Argar MP addressed several of our key policy asks and in particular our campaign for waiting time targets for adults.

He said:

“The Government have made huge strides in focusing on reducing delays through investment and funding and waiting-time targets, but these targets are not always fully applicable to everyone. It is vital, however, that these waiting-time standards for accessing treatment also apply to over-19s (sic.).”

According to research by Beat (2017), on average people waited three years between their symptoms first emerging to seeking help for the first time.

“It will always take courage to talk about an eating disorder, but by talking about them in this House and in our communities, we can help to make it easier and to reduce the 149 weeks (three years) [before someone seeks help].” Edward Argar MP

He also praised the work done by Beat’s ambassadors, highlighting the bravery it takes to speak out about their illness to help others feel able to seek help themselves.

Attendance was low at the debate, however those who did speak, spoke with passion and interest in eating disorders. We understand the frustration felt when an MP you have contacted doesn’t reply or attend, however it is important that we continue to lobby our MPs in order to make change happen.

I wrote to Edward Argar about eating disorders last year and I was delighted when I learned that he was leading an adjournment debate on this topic. His speech drew attention to the challenges of seeking help, concerns about waiting times and the funding of treatment.” Sara, a Beat campaigner

Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, Jackie Doyle-Price MP concluded;

I thank everyone for participating in the debate. I know that everyone here has a significant interest in mental health and those suffering with eating disorders. We all know that this can be the most fatal of all mental illnesses, and that every death is a tragedy. That is why we are very much committed to doing everything we can to combat this terrible illness.”

If you would like to watch the debate, you can do so here, or you can read the full transcript here.

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