In the build-up to International Men’s Day taking place on Monday 19th November 2012, UK national charity Men Get Eating Disorders Too is appealing for signatures in support of their petition on Direct Gov.
The petition aims to address the barriers men with eating disorders are faced when approaching help at the point of access and in treatment services. MGEDT is calling on the government to make key changes in policy and delivery levels so male sufferers are able to seek the support they need.
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. We need at least 10,000 signatures to be eligible for a response from the Department of Health and the possibility of our petition being debated in Parliament. Help us achieve our goal by signing the petition today.”
In April of this year, it was revealed there had been a 16 per cent rise in hospital admissions involving males with eating disorders, according to the NHS Information Centre. Latest figures indicate that 20 per cent of the estimated 1.6 million people with eating disorders are male.
Sam, added: “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 eighteen 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 click here. The deadline for signing is January 9th 2013.