Dublin Senator Catherine Noone has called for greater vigilance about eating disorders affecting teenagers.
Speaking during Eating Disorders Awareness Week Senator Noone, a Fine Gael candidate for Dublin Bay North, said: “In Ireland, there are approximately 200,000 people effected by eating disorders, a further 400 will be diagnosed this year and regrettably, 80 people will die from their condition.
“These numbers represent much-loved sons and daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.
“These numbers speak to the wider issue of mental health in Irish society and the desperate need to pursue initiatives to remove the stigma around mental health conditions.
“We know based on international figures, only 5 – 15% of patients with eating disorders will seek out help by themselves.
“We also know that getting early access to treatment dramatically improves the chances of those affected of making a recovery.”
Senator Noone added: “Worryingly, 14% of all child and adolescent admissions to hospitals are a result of eating disorders.
“All of us can do more to recognize the warning signs of eating disorders such as changes in attitudes around meals and changes in personality.
“While we are making progress on mental health in Ireland we cannot afford to become complacent on this issue.
“Only by openly talking about mental health issues can we truly make profound changes to the lives of people who are or will suffer from difficulties.”