The number of children being admitted to hospital with an eating disorder has surged almost 70% since the pandemic began, according to official figures, with psychiatrists warning they are being overwhelmed by the numbers needing help. The Telegraph has the story.
Experts said repeated lockdowns and periods of isolation had caused “devastating” effects on children’s mental health, fuelling a sharp rise in anorexia and bulimia. They said such uncertainty had left many children feeling they had lost control of their lives – a factor which can provoke eating disorders.
Charities warned that those admitted to hospital were only the “tip of the iceberg” as the vast majority of those suffering eating disorders do not receive care as an inpatient.
The NHS provisional data show 4,238 hospital admissions for children aged 17 and under between April and October last year. The figure is a 69% rise compared with the same months before the pandemic, when there were just 2,508 admissions.
Overall, the data show there were 23,302 admissions for eating disorders among all age groups in the financial year 2020/21, up 21% on the 19,244 admissions among all age groups recorded in 2018/19.
Provisional data for April to October 2021 show there were 15,941 admissions so far among all age groups, suggesting 2021/22 will be the highest year yet for those of all ages.