Why JenUp?

“Why this site? Because I want you to know that recovery is possible”

The need is growing by the day. And the support is just not out there. Having got to the other side of an eating disorder myself, I know exactly whats needed. I am here to support young people like you who are at the early stages of an eating disorder. So you can get your life back on track.

Below, I outline five reasons why I felt compelled to create JenUp. But first, it’s worth looking at some of the alarming stats around this subject.

Some alarming stats

1. Hospital admissions for those with eating disorders have risen by a third in the last two years

33%

2. One in five women screened positive for a possible eating disorder in 2019

20%

3. Beat has seen a 140% rise in support calls during Covid-19

100%

4. It is estimated the cost to society of eating disorders is £15 billion per annum

5. There has been an 68% increase in 10-19 year-olds seeking help in 2020

6. The Department of Health estimates that 4 million people in the UK currently struggle with an eating disorder

SOURCES
1. In that same period (2019/ 2020) the admissions for children rose by almost a fifth. The data was provided by NHS Digital. See related article
2. As shown by a NHS England report in December 2020. The same report revealed that one in eight men screened positive. View Report
3. Beat is the national UK Charity for Eating Disorders. Beat Website
4. The report conducted by Price Waterhouse on behalf of BEAT in 2015 was the most extensive study conducted into the cost of eating disorders. View Report
5. In February 2021 the AYPH (Association for Young People’s Health) created a report, summarising the known impact of Covid 19 on young people. View Report
6. Given that the only figures known are for those seeking or receiving treatment, the actual figures are likely to be much higher than those recorded. Further Information

Five reasons why I created JenUp…

Here are five reasons why I felt compelled to create JenUp as an educational hub
  • I saw an alarming increase amongst those who were suffering, either from an eating disorder or from disordered eating.
  • I wanted to give young people the very support and resources that I wish Id had as a sufferer of an eating disorder.
  • In particular, I wanted to educate them about the side-effects of under-eating… and to show them the science behind eating disorders.
  • I also wanted to enable parents to spot the early signs of an eating disorder, and how to also really support their child.
  • Above all, I wanted to empower young people – and enable them to get back on track to live the lives they’re here to live.

The five gaps in the system

Another reason I created JenUp was because of the various gaps I saw in the existing support services… not least, the need for early intervention and prevention, and for an approach that was personal, balanced and holistic.
One

According to the NHS test statistics, in 2017, one in five adolescents suffering with an eating disorder reported a wait of over six months to see a specialist.

Two

As a rule, GPs will miss the tell-tale signs of an eating disorder.

Three

Typically, treatment is only focused on weight restoration. That doesn’t mean that eating disorder has been resolved.

Four

Also, young people may be turned away for not being ‘thin enough’ for treatment… or because their BMI is ‘not low enough. In both cases, this shows a lack of understanding of the root causes.

Five

Finally, there is simply not adequate funding to address a fundamental societal issue; there is also not enough related community care.

I firmly believe there is huge scope for the entire health community to wise up on the most effective way to address eating disorders.

What’s your own ‘why’?

What is it exactly that brings you here? From experience, there are a wide range of reasons why people come to JenUp. See which of these resonates with you. (And there will be other reasons too.)
As a young person, is one of these you?
  • “I’d love to have a better understanding of eating disorders”
  • “I’m not feeling as in control of things as I’d like.”
  • “I want to help a close friend who may be struggling”
As a parent, is one of these you?
  • “I want to know what I can do differently that would support my child.”
  • “I ‘d like to know more about eating disorders – without being bombarded.”
  •  “I’d love to know how to detect the early signs of an eating disorder.”
As a teacher, is one of these you?
  • “I’d like to feel I can have a positive impact on the whole class”
  • “I want to minimise the risk of pupils  developing an eating disorder.”
  • “I’d love to know how to identify and address certain behaviours?”
“I’m none of these things!”

All the same, you may still be keen to play your part in bringing about the early prevention of eating disorders. For instance, you may be a health professional or event organiser who – like Jen – wants to educate the community on what’s needed. If so, please get in touch.

JenUp is here as an educational hub for all of you

On this website, we provide a variety of resources – from toolkits to blogs, as well as access to webinars and other live interactive events. Our aim is to support you to wise up, so that together we can create a shift in how we address this growing and pressing challenge.

Why the name ‘JenUp’?

Obvious as it may seem, it’s still worth spelling out how the name ‘JenUp’ came into being. You could say there were three main things that led to it…”

Making a positive difference

Way too many people in this country (especially young people) are on a downward trajectory because of eating disorders – much as Jenny once was. What’s needed is the exact reverse of that, a way to move their lives ‘up’ to a better place.

Showcasing Jenny

It’s the first-hand experiences of Jenny Tomei, her personal journey with anorexia and eating disorders, and her strong calling to support and empower others – that have brought this initiative into being.

(And yes, a growing number of people do now call Jenny Jen!)

Giving an existing phrase a twist

The aim always was to educate and inform. And there is already an expression that means just that.

gen up: (verb) to inform or educate; to brief (someone) or study (something) in detail; to make or become fully conversant with: to give someone the required information about something. As in “I can only take over this job if I am properly genned up.”

It made sense to give that expression a fresh twist and a new lease of life. And while the expression may not be familiar to many young people… it will be to many parents and to others who want to help bring about a new level of education and empowerment.