Eating disorders are becoming a major issue for teenagers across the country. With thousands of young people contacting Childline with concerns about how they look, as well as many others suffering in silence, it’s clear that this is a problem affecting many.
It comes as new figures from the NSPCC show that nearly 6,000 counselling sessions have been carried out by Childline about eating disorders over the last year. This includes children and young people from the South West of England.
Of course, there is a myriad of reasons why young people may be worrying about their weight.
Many of those contacting Childline, which provides counselling online or over the phone seven days a week through a dedicated team of volunteers, have been saying the pressures of social media have led them to avoid certain food types or restricting what they eat.
They’ve also been comparing themselves to others on social media and looking at ways to lose weight.
This has led to fears that they could go on to develop anorexia or bulimia, with both their mental and physical health suffering.
With body image and eating disorders clearly affecting young people’s mental health, the NSPCC’s Are You There? campaign is calling on the UK Government to invest some of the £300 million it has committed for children’s mental health services towards early support services such as Childline.
It’s hoped that this could be a lifeline for those struggling to cope with the pressures they’re facing and will mean they can get access to support when they need it the most.
For more information about the NSPCC’s Are You There? campaign see the website.