New figures have revealed that the number of young girls who are being admitted to hospital with an eating disorder has doubled in just three years.
In 2010-11, the number of girls aged between 0 and 19 who were admitted to hospital was 840. By 2013-14 this had risen to 1,656.
Experts have blamed a number of factors for this. One is the rise in the number of children using mobile phones, another is increased exposure to advertising and the other is the easy access that children have to images of perfectly retouched celebrities on the likes of Instagram and Twitter.
Further highlighting the impact that a constant exposure to ‘perfect’ images has on youngsters is the growing number of young boys who are also suffering with disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Despite this, 15 to 19 year-old girls are more than twice as likely to be referred to psychological therapists than boys are.
In 2013-14 around 34,000 young women were referred compared to just 16,000 young men. The Chief Executive of YoungMinds, Sarah Brennan commented:
“Much more needs to be done to support boys and young men to access mental health support. It’s clear from today’s figures that many boys who might be struggling with mental health issues are being missed. This can have severe consequences including addictions, conflict and young men ending up in the criminal justice system.”
Health professionals have also reminded people that we need to move away from the image of teenage mental health issues being predominantly ones that girls face while boys are simply being dismissed as ‘acting up’.
If you think that you or someone you know could have an eating disorder, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available. You can also contact us today for help.