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New Documentary To Explore Eating Disorders

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Channel 4 have confirmed the commission of a new film that will look at the devastating impact of eating disorders in the UK.

The film, Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia, will see reporter and news presenter Mark Austin look at the issue and how it affects not only those who suffer from eating disorders, but their loved ones as well.

Mark and his daughter Maddy feature in the documentary as they draw on their own family's experience to break the stigma around eating disorders and investigate whether the health care system is providing appropriate care. They publicly spoke out about their experience at the beginning of 2017 and have since been inundated with messages of support from across the country, including HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge. In the film, Prince William speaks to Mark and Maddy about his hopes for a more open attitude towards talking about mental health.

There are around 1.2 million people with eating disorders in the UK, and it is the cause of the highest number of mental health related deaths. Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia sees Mark and Maddy meet patients and relatives and explore the lengthy waiting lists for treatment, the limited number of beds for people with eating disorders, the closure of outpatient centres across the country and the so-called 'postcode lottery' which determines the level of care patients receive. Mark and Maddy put these findings to Jeremy Hunt who responds to criticisms about the speed of change in treatment and whether the money allocated to eating disorders is reaching its intended targets.

Mark Austin said: "This was not an easy film to make, but Maddy and I wanted to highlight the crisis in the treatment of eating disorders in many parts of this country. It is an epidemic of our age and it is high time it was talked about as a mental health emergency that needs resources and attention. We hope this helps."

Daniel Pearl, Channel 4 Deputy Head of News and Current Affairs, added: "This is a timely film looking at the impact that NHS cuts have had on mental health treatment in the UK, with a particular focus on eating disorders. Mark and Maddy have been on an incredibly difficult journey and it is extremely brave for both of them to explore such personal matters in this documentary."

Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia is presented by Mark and Maddy Austin. Janice Sutherland is Producer and Director, with Emma Hindley and Lucie Kon as Executive Producers.

The film will air on Thursday, 24 August at 10pm on Channel 4.
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