Northern Ireland to get eating disorders service
Published: 06 December 2007
Children and young people in Northern Ireland will soon be able to access a dedicated service for eating disorders led by child and adolescent mental health services.
An audience of politicians, health care professionals and users of the service gathered at the Long Gallery, Stormont tonight (6 December 2007) to hear how children and young people would benefit from this new community-based service.
Jackie Nelson, Chair of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Forum and regional co-ordinator for the development of eating disorder services is leading the initiative.
She said: “Eating disorders are associated with a very high mortality rate of 13% and are the third most common cause of chronic illness amongst adolescents. Research indicates that the average age for the onset of eating disorders is around 14, however, given the nature of these disorders and the efforts that sufferers take to conceal their condition, it is often many years before they receive help. This highlights clearly the need for early detection, diagnosis and intervention.
“It has been well-established that early interventions in eating disorders produce outcomes that are much better compared to when intervention commences during the adult years.
“We are, therefore, delighted that funding has been secured to train local health care professionals to provide this invaluable service. This will be the first time a dedicated service has been available in Northern Ireland geared specifically for children and young people.”
Training and consultation for the new service will be provided by Dr Rachel Bryant-Waugh, Head of the Eating Disorder Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Dr Bryant-Waugh is an internationally renowned expert in the field.
Jackie continues: “This service will make a huge difference to children and young people in Northern Ireland suffering from an eating disorder. There will be more support available and it is hoped that this new service will reduce the high levels of distress associated with these disorders for children, young people and their families.”
Notes to editors:
- The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) has provided funding for the training. This equates to approximately 11.5 professionals specialising in this field.
- Dr Rachel-Bryant Waugh has commenced the training and the service will be rolled out across the province from January 2008.