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5 March 2019, 06:12 | Updated: 5 March 2019, 06:15
"We need to remove the stigma around eating disorders," says local campaigner.
A young woman from the Wirral has said that we need to start talking about eating disorders to remove the stigma around them that prevents so many people from seeking help.
Chloe Evans from Wirral is an ambassador for Beat - the UK's eating disorder charity - and has previously met with Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood to share her own experiences with eating disorders and to ask her to help raise awareness around the issues that sufferers face.
Beat estimates that 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder, and it is believed that 4% of the total population will suffer with one in their lifetime. According to the charity, it takes, on average, three years for people to recognise their symptoms and seek help.
This week, Margaret Greenwood met with representatives from Beat at a lobby in Parliament, where she heard about the personal experiences of some of those who have suffered, and are suffering from, eating disorders.
The lobby coincided with Eating Disorders Awareness Week which runs from 25 February until 3 March 2019.
Margaret Greenwood said:
"I was pleased to be able to meet with campaigners from Beat in Parliament and hear about the great work that they do to support people with eating disorders.
"It was also a real pleasure to learn more about Chloe's work as a Beat ambassador and how she uses her own experiences to help other people.
"Eating disorders can affect anyone of any age, gender and background and it is really important that if anyone is suffering they seek help as early possible.
"Beat has a range of helplines which are open all year round and people there can offer support completely confidentially, so anyone with any concerns can call them in confidence."
Chloe Evans said:
"My role as an ambassador has given me the confidence to reach out to others about my own experience and show that it's ok to talk and recovery is possible.
"Eating disorders are largely mental health disorders. I used food and exercise as a method of control, which essentially lead me on a path to self-destruct. I was in denial about what I was doing to my body, and it led me to become severely depressed.
"My path into treatment only started when I opened up and asked for help. It's not easy, but if you can recognise that there is a problem, then there are solutions.
"This is why Beat do an amazing job - they have helplines open 365 days a year, with people who really understand. It's important to know that everyone is deserving of treatment and Beat can advise on getting a quick referral.
"Now is the time to start talking about eating disorders - we need to remove the stigma that prevents so many people from seeking help and we need to make it clear that treatment is available."
If you are a young person and think you need help or advice on an eating disorder, you can contact Beat's helpline on 0808 801 0711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adults can call 0808 801 0677 or email email@example.com.
There are separate contact details for students - 0808 801 0811 and firstname.lastname@example.org.