The family of a 24 year-old man who died after battling an eating disorder has launched a website to help people cope with the devastating effects of the illness.
Laurence Nugent died in 2009, having suffered from bulimia and severe depression, and now his mother Pam and brother Chris have decided to launch some online help for people and families affected in a similar way.
Coinciding with Eating Disorder Awareness Week, the website has been launched to bring “much needed help, support and information to men living with an eating disorder and their carers”, said the family.
Pam said eating disorders are a “serious yet underrepresented problem” in society.
She added that while her personal experience is with men suffering from the illness, the problem does not distinguish between genders, but the charity aims to revise the misconception that eating disorders are ‘a woman’s problem’.
“We are delighted to launch The Laurence Trust website, which is a vital resource for parents and young people living every day with an eating disorder,” she said.
“Although our focus is raising awareness of eating disorders in young men, I have recent experience of speaking with mothers who are caring for young girls and have discovered this condition makes no distinctions. The website will be a valuable tool for everyone seeking help, support and information on eating disorders.”
“I know what it is like to search for help, and hope someone, anyone can provide that help! I believe the website will become that source of help to men and women suffering and feeling the same despair as Laurence felt; as well as giving hope to families so they can encourage their loved ones to seek help to avoid becoming another fatality like Laurence.
“Finally I would like to thank the volunteers who run the charity for their unstinting assistance; and everyone who donates to us; without their support this website would not be possible.”
A statement on behalf of the charity said understanding the condition can be extremely difficult.
“It is difficult to ever truly understand the extent to which eating disorders affect sufferers, as only those who seek or receive treatment are recorded, this does not account for those who suffer in silence, making an accurate prevalence rate very hard to calculate.
“Still the fatal nature of this condition cannot be underestimated which unfortunately my family discovered with Laurence; the website is a step forward towards preventing this happening to other families.”
“The Laurence Trust intends to act as a voice for people living with an eating disorder and inform the public that men are affected too. They need the same support and help just as much as women do, and in turn attempt to break the stereotype that an eating disorder is exclusively a ‘woman’s problem’.”
For help or for more information visit www.thelaurencetrust.co.uk, find the charity on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.