Hospital admissions for eating disorders soar by a third in two years

HOSPITAL admissions for eating disorders shot up by a third in two years.

There were 21,794 in 2019-20, up 32 per cent from two years earlier, NHS England data shows.

Under-18 admissions went up by a fifth from 4,160 to 4,962 over the same period.

Nearly half of the 418 admissions of children aged ten to 12 were for girls with anorexia.

Under-tens were also treated in hospital for eating disorders.

Virus lockdowns have contributed to the rise in anorexia, bulimia and other mental health issues, experts say.

Specialist Dr Agnes Ayton of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "This deadly illness is thriving because people have lost many of their support networks alongside access to community services as a result of Covid-19.”

Tom Madders, director of campaigns at the charity Young Minds, said: "It is worrying to see a further rise in the number of children and young people being admitted to hospital for eating disorders.

"While there have been improvements in waiting times for eating disorder services for children in recent years, it can still be difficult for them to get the help they need before they reach crisis point.

"The factors behind eating disorders are complex but we know what a difference early support can make, often preventing problems from escalating and meaning that a young person is more likely to fully recover.

"With it becoming clearer that the pandemic is deepening the crisis in young people's mental health, the Government must act to ensure that early support is there for those that are struggling and make prevention and early intervention a genuine priority."

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