A march for hope, led by Hope Virgo 

On Saturday 20th May, Orri walked alongside the eating disorder community to call for action and change in the treatment of eating disorders in the UK. We marched to support the Dump the Scales campaign, headed and organised by prominent mental health campaigner, Hope Virgo. 

The stark reality is that too many people are dying of eating disorders, and these are preventable deaths.   

‘Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, from medical complications associated with the illness as well as suicide. In every case, eating disorders severely affect the quality of life of the sufferer and those that care for them.’ 


We know that between 1.5 million and 2.4 million people in the UK suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. What’s more, the prevalence of people with serious eating disorders that require specialist treatment is increasing. 

Yet referral waiting times, underfunding, and a lack of sufficient medical training and education in eating disorders often means that people don’t receive the help that they need and deserve, and can wait up to three years into their illness before getting support. 

“The increase in people struggling with eating disorders in the last few years is shocking and catastrophic. 

The figures alone are not creating action. This is where we need every single person who cares about the disastrous impact of eating disorders. 

We must be the action. 

In addition to the devastating impact to people’s lives, eating disorders are a hugely stigmatised illness. 

They are an insidious and dangerous mental illness that has complex roots and manifestations. One that affects individuals, family, friends & relationships with a horrifying impact.” 

Hope Virgo, Dump the Scales march

The march symbolised a marker in the sand for change in the way that eating disorders are understood and treated in the UK. 

We marched for those who have been affected. We marched for the injustice individuals and families have experienced. We marched for those we have lost, and for those lives that could have been saved, had there been adequate action and awareness.  

We marched for hope that we, across all services and sectors, can come together to share best practice and meet the needs of this community: 

‘Eating disorders have almost trebled between 2007 and 2019, but the pandemic has seen a further surge in cases. According to NHS Digital’s 2019 Health Survey for England, 16 percent of those aged 16 and up (19 percent of women and 13 percent of men) screened positive for a possible eating disorder in the previous 12 months. In the most recent 2022 NHS Digital Child Mental Health Survey, the rate of a broader measure of possible eating problems was an alarming 12.9 percent in children aged 11 to 16, 60.3 percent in 17 to 19 year-olds, and 62.2 percent in 20 to 23 year olds. This is a national emergency that must be addressed as soon as possible.’ 

NHS Health Survey, 2019 

The march

We have a gallery of photos from the day, featuring members of our team and the public. 

The open letter

Hope Virgo has written an open letter to the government, calling for action in funding and commitment in developing  stand alone eating disorder strategy. 

You can sign the letter, here: https://the.organise.network/campaigns/network-no-one-should-be-dying-of-an-eating-disorder-in-2023-8fffc72793b87a94?utm_campaign=eqsgJorTNd&utm_medium=whatsapp&utm_source=share 

What else can you do? 

We invite you, the community, to continue taking action and speaking out about eating disorders. Educate yourself. Listen openly. Be the change. 

Remember our EDAW BROS Man-ifesto, back in March? Our guidance below could be useful: 

Remember the importance of language and early intervention by remembering your #BROS: 

Banter Mindfully: be mindful of your use of language around appearance 

Recognise Responsibility: notice your role and the opportunity for early intervention 

Observe Behaviours: pay close attention to radical changes of behaviour, don’t dismiss or minimise 

Support & Signpost: take action and with kindness. Signpost to external support if needed 

If you need a refresher of Orri’s EDAW 2023 campaign, click here

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