We know the media plays a big part in how eating disorders are perceived, influencing attitudes, beliefs and actions. We support the media in raising awareness of eating disorders, as the more we talk about these serious mental illnesses, the better we can break down stigma and, in turn, encourage individuals to seek treatment as soon as possible.
It is important to recognise that To the Bone is a fictional, dramatised story, with characters portrayed by Hollywood actors and models, and does not represent the reality of suffering with or finding treatment for an eating disorder, though many people affected will identify with the themes it presents.
To the Bone clearly presents the significant psychological distress felt by Ellen and those around her in treatment, and depicts the wider impact eating disorders have on the family circle. The film makes clear that anorexia and other eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, and not a choice or about dieting or vanity.
We were disappointed that at many points in the movie Ellen's family were depicted as the main cause of her eating disorder, where, in fact, eating disorders are complex, with no one single cause, and there is clear evidence that genetic and biological factors play a role.
There is a strong likelihood that people who have been affected by eating disorders would find the film highly distressing or triggering - it includes frequent references to calories, weight and eating disorder behaviours, and images of Ellen at a very low weight. We strongly urge any media reporting on this film to follow our media guidelines, to avoid any further distressing or triggering content.
We have answered some questions that people affected by eating disorders may have about To the Bone, which we hope will help you decide about whether to watch it. However, we understand that every person's response will be different, and suggest that if you're uncertain, it is best to err on the side of caution.
If you have watched the film and have been affected by the storyline or themes, remember our support services are here.
The film has already opened up a debate and, if you are able to safely watch it, we are inviting people to submit a blog expressing their opinion about the film, whether positive, negative, or mixed. You can find our general guidelines for submitting a blog for our website here. We expect a large number of submissions, so we will not be able to publish each one, but we would welcome your thoughts on the film and Ellen's story.
Any media wishing to speak to a Beat spokesperson should contact Beat's press office.
This blog first appeared here