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I was pleased to contribute to this important debate marking Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

We have come some way in recognising and addressing eating disorders, but we have much to learn in order to fully understand and deal with this very complex illness.

Anyone can fall prey to an eating disorder and it is important to raise awareness of this condition and the stigma that too often goes with it.

Whole families are affected when a loved one lives with this condition and families need to know that they are not alone. Eating disorder charity, BEAT, has continued to work very hard to break down the barriers that so many people face when they try to access support.

The unrealistic images we are exposed to on social media should concern us all, as should the scandal of websites advising people on how to avoid eating without it being noticed by friends and family, which is very chilling indeed.

We need to continue to drive improvements in mental health services and ensure that everyone has access to the care that they need when they need it.

There is no denying that there have been positive steps in increasing the understanding and public awareness of eating disorders over the past decades, but we have some way to go, and it is vital that we continue to work to support those living with it and work on preventative measures and early intervention.

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