The SNP Government is conducting a national review of services, designed to assess and improve support for people living with an eating disorder.
The review will be published in spring next year and provide a full picture of the current support available for those with an eating disorder. It will then offer a number of recommendations to inform improvement work throughout 2021.
Work on the review will last for six months and begin following the publication of the Mental Welfare Commission’s (MWC) report on eating disorder services expected this summer. The MWC report will be used as a solid foundation for the review.
Speaking at the start of Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which runs from 02 to 08 March this year, Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey MSP said:
“More people lose their lives from eating disorders than any other psychiatric condition, therefore it requires a specialist and dedicated response. The national review will build on the work of the MWC who are currently visiting eating disorder services in Scotland.
“Direct investment in mental health has been increased to £117 million in the 2020/21 draft budget. This will help us ensure better access to services. This review is a crucial first step in a programme of work to improve services for people living with an eating disorder. We want to see a second phase of improvement work in 2021, which will be guided by the review’s findings.”
Dr Stephen Anderson, chair of the eating disorders faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said:
"Eating disorders are the deadliest and most lethal of mental health conditions and we know that earlier intervention saves lives. This is why we welcome this review of services, following on from the work by the Mental Welfare Commission.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Especially in times where much revolves around unrealistic physical representations on TV and social media, it can be tempting for girls and boys – and also adults – to negatively change their behaviour to conform to some body-image stereotype. For others, eating orders are a manifestation of deep-rooted internal issues, trauma or depression.
“Eating disorders can affect anyone and tend to creep up on people, some of whom are not even aware their relationship with food is unhealthy and that they have a disorder.
“Eating Disorders Awareness Week exists to draw attention to the causes, symptoms and solutions to these conditions and I am always happy to support this, having myself led a debate in the Scottish Parliament on this subject back in February 2008.”
During Eating Disorders Awareness Week in 2019, the SNP Government relaunched NHS Lothian and Beat’s Digital Peer Support Service for those with an eating disorder, supporting Action 22 of the 10 year Mental Health Strategy. The relaunch included the addition of a telephone coaching service for parents and carers, reflecting feedback from users of the service.
Any young person with an eating disorder in Scotland who is aged between 12 – 25 years old can get in touch with them via www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/scotland-online-peer-support-for-young-people .