Safeguarding warning: Eating disorders and self-harm

There has been a spike in eating disorders and self-harm among teenage girls since the pandemic.

A study published this week (Trafford et al, 2023) analyses around nine million GP records of young people aged from 10 to 24 over a period of 12 years from 2010.

It finds that since March 2020, eating disorders were higher than would have been expected based on previous trends. For young women aged 13 to 16, they were up 42%; for those aged 17 to 19 they were up 32%.

The increase in levels of self-harm was also greatest among females aged 13 to 16, with the number of episodes being 38% greater than expected.

In contrast, researchers found no evidence of an increase in levels of self-harm in females in the other age groups and no increase in rates of eating disorders or self-harm was seen in young men.

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