National Eating Disorder plan needed now

Senator Annie Hoey image
04 March 2024

Labour’s Senator Annie Hoey, and member of the Oireachtas sub-committee on Mental Health, has expressed deep concern at the lack of action from this Government on eating disorders.

Senator Hoey said:

“The protests organised by MindEverybody highlighted the deeply flawed approach this Government has when it comes to helping people suffering from eating disorders.

“Marked by an utter dearth of facilities for people, this Government has its head in the sand on tackling what is a growing health issue in this country.

“Labour is demanding the publication and implementation of a National Eating Disorder plan to bring clarity to those people and families experiencing eating disorders, and to provide assurances that supports and services will be available to them.

“Last year, the Health Research Board found that the number of child and adolescent admissions for eating disorders has more than doubled in the last five years, from 33 in 2018 to 80 in 2022. Yet there seems to be zero interest from Government in addressing this and building out capacity within the health service to give people the help that they need.

“There’s a worsening crisis when it comes to eating disorders in Ireland.

“We know that the people admitted to hospital are only a fraction of the individuals experiencing one of these conditions. For too long, mental health services and services for eating disorders in particular have been neglected, under-funded and under-resourced.

“While we know the Minister has plans to address the crisis in the mental health system, the plans are not worth the paper they are written on for those suffering.

“GPs and social workers continue to report that they can’t provide the integrated community-based support that they need. It simply beggars belief that there was no new funding allocated in Budget 2024 for eating disorders teams when we know that resourcing is a key issue.

“Government urgently needs a plan to tackle this issue which includes significant investment in eating disorder services, including more beds, more staff and more outreach programmes.”

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