People are being urged to back a charity’s campaign to raise awareness of the need for more help for men with eating disorders.
There are just two days left to sign the online petition created by Brighton-based charity Men Get Eating Disorders Too (MGEDT).
It calls for a change in Government legislation to make it easier for men to get the support they need when asking for help.
Sam Thomas, MGEDT founder and director, said: “It’s encouraging that hundreds of people have signed our petition so far to improve service provision for males with eating disorders.
“The more signatures we receive the increased chance that politicians, commissioners and policy-makers take this issue seriously.”
In April of this year it was revealed there had been a 16% rise in hospital admissions involving males with eating disorders, according to the NHS Information Centre.
Latest figures indicate that 20% of the estimated 1.6 million people with eating disorders are male.
'Tip of the iceberg'
Mr Thomas said: “MGEDT believes that these figures are only the tip of the iceberg and that many male sufferers aren’t engaged with treatment services.
“Despite an increase in awareness in recent years, there is a still a great deal of stigma attached to eating disorders.
“The stereotypical gender assumptions still exist, thus making it difficult for many male sufferers to approach their GP.
“I know from first-hand experience how difficult it can be as a man making those first steps getting help.
“At 18 I approached the doctor to get support for bulimia as I was getting desperate and needed treatment urgently.
“Despite the severity of my illness at that time, the GP brushed off the symptoms saying I was simply ‘depressed’.
“If I was a female with the same set of situations and symptoms, I’m sure I would have been diagnosed quicker.
“What’s most worrying is that this is not a lone experience – many male sufferers out there are unable to seek the vital help they need due to the lack of understanding and awareness of eating disorders among professionals.
“It’s important to remember that eating disorders are indiscriminate and can affect anyone, irrespective of their age, social background, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and indeed gender.
“Only with increased awareness and understanding of eating disorders in men will the barriers be eradicated. Ultimately, we want to see services that are inclusive to the needs of all.”
To view the petition and to sign go to epetitions.direct.gov.uk.
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