It’s that time of year again; it’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2022. To mark the occasion, Beat – the UK Eating Disorder charity of which I am a long standing Ambassador – is leading the way with a new campaign which targets medical schools and the improvement of Eating Disorder education for Doctors.
Would you actually believe that GPs receive less than 2 hours of training on Eating Disorder during their many years in medical school? Even worse, some schools do not include this topic as part of the Doctor’s education at all.
This is a major problem because GPs are very often the first point of contact for someone seeking support for an Eating Disorder. The individual struggling needs to be met by someone who knows enough about Eating Disorders to spot the signs early, communicate sensitively, and ensure a referral to the appropriate service/s happens promptly. A well-equipped Doctor can make all the difference for a patient. However, all too often people report this not being their experience.
We can’t exactly blame the GPs either. Eating Disorders are varied and complex mental health conditions – and 2 hours or less is simply not enough.
You will have probably heard me say many times before that Eating Disorders are the mental health conditions with the highest mortality rate – so it really is hard to understand why medical schools are not better training their students. I have firsthand experience of training GPs on this topic, and know that a small amount of additional education can make a huge difference to the confidence of the Doctors and the care that they can offer. Care that can quite literally save lives.
I would therefore really appreciate it if you could take a couple minutes out of your day to support the ‘Worth more than 2 hours’ campaign. You can get involved in a number of ways.
Firstly – you can head over to Beat’s website to sign their open letter to medical schools (click). The open letter is a plea for them to educate every future Doctor with the skills and knowledge they need to support patients with Eating Disorders. Please add your name, and ask others to do the same!
Secondly, if you use social media please talk about the campaign. Share this blog post, Beat’s website, or the direct link to the open letter via any platform that you use. Don’t forget to tag @BeatED and me @Kel_MHB in your posts. Beat have even supplied infographics which you can access HERE and you can use the hashtags #WorthMoreThan2Hours and #EDAW2022.
Thirdly, if you can please consider donating. Beat relies heavily on donations to keep doing the work they do. You can donate by visiting THIS LINK.
Until next time, be kind, be curious, be yourself.