eating disorders

18 petitions

Update posted 16 hours ago

Petition to Theresa May MP, NHS, Caroline Dinenage MP, Department of Health, Stephen Barclay MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Matt Hancock MP

Eating Disorders are not just about weight #dumpthescales

Having being hospitalised and on the brink of death from anorexia once before, when I relapsed in 2016 I was terrified of ending up in hospital again. Getting to that point where I would lose control. That relentless anorexic voice nagging at me day in and day out.After four months of battling with that voice in my head I decided it was time I reached out for help. I referred myself and got an appointment at an Eating Disorder Unit in London only to be told “I wasn’t thin enough for support”.I left the appointment not sure what to do, all I had wanted was someone to talk to, someone to take my relapse seriously and to give me some help. I felt like a fake. A hypocrite.   The month that followed was a mess. I couldn’t shake that anorexic voice that was slowly destroying me again, making me feel suicidal, taking over my every waking moment. One evening I sat at the train station for hours and just wanted to give up on life altogether. I remember thinking about how much better life would be for everyone if I wasn’t here. Something stopped me that evening ending my life altogether and I had this realisation that if I wasn’t thin enough for treatment I would have to manage this on my own.    My story isn’t unique but a daily occurrence for people with all eating disorders who are seeking treatment. When asked to imagine someone suffering with an eating disorder, most will imagine a stick thin, gaunt looking girl. But this is not the reality of eating disorders. People with eating disorders are currently not getting a fair deal in society. Despite the guidance too often individuals are turned away from receiving essential support because they aren’t skinny enough to be considered at risk. This leaves the individual feeling like they aren’t worth getting that support, feeling like a “fake”, potentially losing more weight to hit that target and in some cases feeling suicidal. This is why I’m calling on the government to review the eating disorder guidance delivered by clinicians.  We know that early diagnosis is a critical element in the success of treatment for eating disorders and by the time 'obvious' signs of eating disorders have manifested, it is likely that the illness will have become ingrained in the individual, and therefore much more difficult to treat. If we want to prevent people getting more unwell, save the NHS money, prevent hospital admission and save lives we need to have this review and ensure that we get full implementation of the clinical guidance around diagnosis.  The guidelines are right but these are not being uniformly implemented across the nation to the detriment of thousands of people daily. It is time we stopped waiting for people to hit crisis point before offering them support.  We need to be able to make sure that people with eating disorders are getting the right support in a timely manner. With 1.25 million people in the UK living with an eating disorder we can’t afford to wait any longer the time to act is now.  #DumpTheScales  

Hope Virgo
66,001 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to uk parliment

Make it a legal requirement for photoshopped images to come with a written warning

Technology is increasingly interwoven into our lives and the detrimental effects of new media on our body image and mental health are becoming very clear. Social media encourages us to become our own marketing machines, always “on” and constantly self-promoting. Given its largely visual nature, these platforms encourage us to become defined by our physical bodies.Resultantly we are seeing the rise of photoshopping, digital manipulation and face-tuning apps which all aim to perfect self-image and project a sense of bodily perfection to followers. This is a very dangerous territory, misleading young people, distorting their sense of self and leaving them with confused sense of reality.    A growing body of research illuminates the negative effects of media on young people’s mental health. According to NHS research published in the Guardian, the UK has an eating disorder epidemic with number of people seeking hospital admission for potentially life-threatening eating disorders doubling in the last six years, with numbers soared to 13,885 in the year to April 2017, up from 7,260 in the period 2010-11. Behavioural data published in peer-reviewed JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association is a peer-reviewed medical journal) shows that there has been a 60% increase in hospital admissions for self-harm since 2001. This is supported by the Good Children Report 2018 by the Children’s Society which finds 1 in 4 girls aged 14 have attempted self-harm. Further research shows that the fear of no ‘likes’ - putting yourself out there and watching for feedback from your peers is catastrophic for mental health, especially for girls. What unites all of this statistics is they are based on the Gen Z and young Millennial demographic - all of whom have grown up online - immersed in social media. This petition proposes we implement new legislation that can potentially protect young people against some of the negative effects of social media, with relation to body image and mental health. While we cannot get rid of the photoshopping or digital enhancement tools, we can aim to reduce the effect of their impact on young people by explaining that these images have been altered and are therefore not realistic. The Fat Girl #FakeBodies campaign thus asks the UK government to implement the use of written warnings (like on cigarette packets) onto photoshopped - calling out that these images have been altered. Academic papers (Slater et al 2012 and Veldhuis et al 2010) suggests these types of warnings could have a positive effect in helping people understand what is real and what is not. Young people’s mental health is in danger and the #FakeBodies campaign is a positive step towards a preventative measure. We urge you to support and share this petition. Thank you SO MUCH for your support, it means such a lot. Clemmie A.K.A Fat Girl If you'd like to get in contact please email  

Clementine Prendergast
655 supporters
Started 3 weeks ago

Petition to UK Parliament, General Medical Council, Royal College of General Practitioners, British Medical Association, NHS England

Improve university GP's training on eating disorders

Lorna’s Story (Living Beyond the Borderline): "When I was 19 I developed an anorexia whilst studying at the University of Bath. I was struggling with my housemates and my studies and began to avoid being at home by using the gym. I also began avoiding our kitchen, as I hated the awkward small talk, and began skipping meals. I never intended to become obsessed, but this pattern took over my life quickly. I became paranoid and anxious to the point I wouldn't leave my tiny university bedroom. I managed to hide this for some time, but eventually broke down and had to suspend my studies. When I returned to my family home, things quickly spiralled even further. I was skipping nearly every meal, and exercising obsessively. I worked 12 hour shifts as a carer, surviving on only one small biscuit per day. I became obsessed with numbers; numbers on a packet, or a scale, or a dress. After months of watching me wither away my mum managed to convince me to talk to my GP. I broke down and told him everything. He weighed me, and quickly told me I was ”fine” as my BMI was ‘healthy.’ He dismissed all of my behavioural symptoms; the manic pacing to burn calories, the obsessive thoughts about weight, the hysteria when food was placed in front of me, and the overwhelming desire to simply waste away. It had taken me months of suffering and denial to finally break and seek support, and when I did, I was refused it. I feel like I could have handled being refused medical treatment if my GP had shown me some compassion, if he had said “I can see you’re suffering but unfortunately I can’t treat you due to the criteria for referral, but I will keep supporting you.” Instead, he made me feel like a phony. Like I was being dramatic, exaggerating, over-the-top. He sent me away with nothing, not even a leaflet! He took away the one thing that was keeping me going; my anti-depressants, as he thought they might have been the cause (spoiler alert; they weren’t, and I became more unwell from being taken off them!) He showed no compassion when I was shaking and crying each month begging him not to weigh me because of the crippling fear I'd put weight on. I was lucky, I was able to recovery. But anorexia has a high mortality rate, higher than any other psychiatric disorder. I quite literally, like too many others, could have died from it. The Hippocratic Oath states “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.” I saw none of that. Since sharing my story in Parliament I have heard from multiple people across the country that they have had near identical experiences. And this is not just anecdotal, it is backed up by research; research conducted by Beat highlighted that, of the 1,700 people they surveyed, only 42% felt that their GP understood eating disorders, with only 34% believing that their GP knew how to help them with their eating disorder It has to change. This lack of compassion, this strict criteria for treatment, and the absence of basic compassion is quite literally killing people. No GP would dare send a woman away with a lump in her breast until it got worse, but this is happening to men and women with symptoms of eating disorders." Georgie's Story (YoursTrulyGx) "I was 13 when I started my first diet. I gained a negative relationship with food, and believed that food was the enemy. That was the beginning of a long battle with bulimia. Little did I know then, but I would spend the rest of my teenage years trying to shrink my body through starvation, binging, and self-induced vomiting. I never spoke about it to anybody because I didn’t want to be judged. I had gone from a size 14 to a size 10/12 in less than a month through making myself ill, yet every day I was being motivated through people’s praise of how ‘driven’ I was. I often wonder if I hit the skeletal stereotype of an eating disorder, would I be treated with concern instead of admiration. I remember sitting in my room each night, extremely depressed, as I grew used to being alone with my thoughts. My relationship with food put a strain on all of my relationships, including mine and my moms, as I would constantly beg her to buy only healthy food and rid the cupboards of anything with sugar/fat/carbs in it. One day when I was about 15, I had a complete breakdown as I walked through the door. I hated myself, and I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I felt as though everything would be easier if I weren’t here. Even then, I didn’t feel I should go to my GP because of the stigma I had seen towards people with mental health issues. When I was 19, I went to my university GP to talk about some issues the pill was giving me. During my appointment, he asked to weigh me, and when he did he looked me up and down and said ‘need to watch that, don’t we’. I was mortified. I had spent so many years starving myself to fit into a smaller body, and that one sentence confirmed everything I thought. I was overweight and unworthy. I kept a brave face on until I walked out and burst into tears. My next GP appointment was at my home doctors. Again, it was concerning my pill, yet I was told I needed to be weighed. Because of the self-conscious, anxious person I already was, I asked the GP if I was a healthy weight, as I was worried because I had suffered with body dysmorphia for years, and I had an extremely low opinion of my body. Without hesitation, my female GP coldly told me I was overweight. Just like that. AFTER I explained the feelings I had towards my body. I would also like to point out that I was 11 stone and a size 10/12. As medical professionals, both doctors should have picked up on what was later diagnosed as an eating disorder. I suffered for so long, and I was in denial. I had no support from my doctors although I was clearly extremely ill. My break from my suffering happened in March 2018, 4 days before my 21st birthday. I went to a separate GP and broke down in the room, telling her that I was struggling to get out of bed, and I had begun starving myself again. I truly felt that I was worthless, overweight and dramatic. That is when I was diagnosed with bulimia, anxiety and depression. I feel that if my GP’s had recognised this earlier, I would have won back over half of my life. Bulimia kills. It ruins lives and honestly, it could have ended mine. The research conducted by BEAT shows that only 42% of people felt that their GP understood eating disorders. This has to end now. Medical professionals need to be aware of the catastrophic damages that eating disorders can have on our lives."                                                     * * * * * * * * * * We believe that the root of this issue is the lack of training medical professionals receive in regards to eating disorders. Research published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal found that medical students receive less than two hours of training on eating disorders over four to six years of undergraduate study. One in five medical schools do not offer any training on eating disorders at all! Can you imagine a medical school doing NO teaching on cancer? Or Crohn’s Disease? Or even depression? Why are eating disorder being ignored when they are estimated to impact 1.25 million people in the UK? It simply isn’t good enough. The average teaching and assessment time on eating disorder in undergraduate courses is just 1.8 hours – as my local MP’s team pointed out, if you were to watch the Louis Theroux documentary ‘Talking with Anorexia’ you would have more than half the amount of time spent learning about eating disorders as DOCTORS! Of the 33 universities offering medical degrees, only six offered placements in specialist eating disorder units for children, and seven in units for adults, and even these placements were limited to six – twelve students. The research also highlights the severe lack of specialist training posts, with just 17 such posts dedicated to training clinicians to treat eating disorders. We are calling for all university GP’s to receive comprehensive training on eating disorders, the severity of harm they can cause, and the importance of early intervention. Most people develop an eating disorder between the ages of 14 and 25 and this means that university GP’s are more likely to come into contact with individuals who are showing signs of an eating disorder compared to other healthcare providers. Research has proven that the earlier treatment is initiated, the better the sufferer’s chances of recovery. As such, university GP’s play a crucial role in ensuring those with eating disorders are treated efficiently, and compassionately. Please help us ensure no more young people are turned away when they seek support. Share our petition and spread the word. Lorna & Georgie

Lorna & Georgie
55 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to UK Parliament

Remove BMI as a Criterion for Access to Outpatient Eating Disorder Services

Men and women struggling with and truly suffering from eating disorders are being turned away from treatment across the country because they are "not thin enough". One in three mental health trusts are using weight measurements to decide whether or not to accept patients with eating disorders despite individual's crying out for help with their devastating condition. In some areas, a person's BMI must be as low as 14 or less to be accepted for treatment, at which point studies and personal experiences have proven that therapy is too taxing to engage in whilst physical health is so deteriorated. A healthy BMI is in the range of 18 to 25, but even this stands to further impose an incorrect and outdated measure of health. As a note of information: BMI measures are designed to be used on individuals over the age of 20. Any younger than this and weight should be measured using percentiles, an indicator where measurements are compared with others in this age and height range.Eating disorders are known to be notoriously difficult to treat, but research performed by Beat, the UK's leading eating disorder charity, have found that people are 50% less likely to relapse if treatment is sought, and started immediately. Anorexia is the mental illness with the highest prevalence of death, with 1 in 4 patients losing their life to this consuming condition. The illness itself causes physical and psychological complications, often with long term consequences. I would like to stress here as thousands of other's try to every day, often in a silent scream, that Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and EDNOS are all mental illnesses: not physical ones. Although weight deterioration is a vitally important factor to recognise, someone actively struggling should never be turned away, especially not based on the very factor that they are battling with daily. SolutionAccess to specialist eating disorder services need to be made easier. Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) state that on its own, BMI is an unreliable measure of an eating disorder.Doctors need further training to identify the psychological symptoms of eating disorders and refer to services regardless of weight. Referrals must be prompt, meeting guidelines and ensuring early intervention. Personal storyMy name is Denica Whinn. I am almost recovered from Anorexia Nervosa, a condition that I have had since I was 12 years old and am now nearing 20. I have spent a total of 1 year of my life in a specialist eating disorder inpatient unit and 6 years in community services. During my initial appointment, after those around me had begged me to seek treatment for almost 2 years, I was told that I "did not look thin enough to have Anorexia" and that I should "take tablets to regulate my blood sugars as I was feeling dizzy after missing lunch". This dismissive approach led my weight and mental health to deteriorate rapidly, leading to self-harm, suicidal behaviour and severe physical health complications, leading to me being hospitalised for 6 months. I am at University now, studying Applied Psychology, volunteering and campaigning with Beat, as well as constantly raising awareness of an illness so devastating, I almost lost my life whilst still in my childhood. I want to ensure that this illness is given more attention and that those struggling are given the respect that they deserve.

Denica Whinn
489 supporters