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Emma Harper MSP to Raise Awareness of Eating Disorders in Holyrood Debate

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Emma Harper MSP will today (Tuesday 5th March 2024) lead a debate in Holyrood on Eating Disorder Awareness Week, specifically highlighting the challenges faced by those suffering from Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

From 26th February to 3rd March this year, third sector organisations along with those affected by eating disorders and their families came together to highlight the impact of eating disorders – which afflict one in 50 people across the UK and take more lives than any other mental health condition.

The theme for 2024 was ARFID, which is a largely unknown condition characterised avoiding certain foods or types of food, with a person restricting intake in terms of overall amount eaten, or both.

Beliefs about weight and shape do not contribute to this condition but the lack of understanding and awareness of it can make treatment difficult to access.

Speaking ahead of the debate, SNP MSP Emma Harper said:

“For too long, eating disorders have been a silent killer; their victims suffering in silence and shame as a result of stigma and misunderstanding.

“Such outdated approaches and attitudes have been dispelled for the most part, but there is still work to do.

“In particular, conditions like ARFID too often go untreated, misdiagnosed and overlooked.

“To do so is to let down those suffering from this condition and their families, and this cannot continue.

“That is why the work of third sector organisations like Beat Eating Disorders, as well as significant funding from the Scottish Government – £120 million for the Mental Health Recovery and Renewal Fund in 2022 – is so important.

“We should all be immensely proud of the work being done across Scotland to improve our understanding of eating disorders, make treatment more widely available and ultimately work towards eradicating these conditions.

“I hope MSPs from all parties can come together in support of this work, doing what we can to play our part and raise awareness of the support available to those struggling right now.”

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