Hollyoaks plot boosts eating disorder helpline calls
9 November 2018 - 9:00 AM

Hollyoaks plot boosts eating disorder helpline calls

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A "Hollyoaks" storyline has led to a surge in calls for an eating disorder helpline.

According to the BBC, the Channel 4 soap had a "significant impact" in boosting calls to Beat for the month of October, when the helpline were contacted by more people than in any other month, after featuring Cleo McQueen's (Nadine Mulkerrin) ongoing battle with bulimia.

Praise Lawal-Okeowo, 18 - who is recovering from bulimia - told the network: "The story of Cleo is probably one of the most accurate portrayals of bulimia I've seen.

"Her eating disorder wasn't at all glamourised, which is what the media often tends to do. Her lips were crusted, her hair was frail.

"With Cleo's storyline, I think "Hollyoaks" have covered every single aspect of bulimia and it could help people now suffering and know how to seek help."

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Chloe Marsden, 21, was diagnosed with anorexia aged 14, and she has also praised the Channel 4 soap's portrayal of the eating disorder plot.

She added: "I really related to ["Hollyoaks"]. Everything that she did was what a person with an eating disorder does. It was like looking through my own eyes."

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Their comments come just a month after Rebecca Field, Beat's head of communication, praised the soap for the storyline.

She said: "On average it takes nearly three years for someone to realise they have an eating disorder and visit a GP.

"That is why shows like "Hollyoaks" can make a difference by raising awareness about these serious mental illnesses so people know to get help, and we are delighted to have been working with the show."

A recent episode saw Cleo recall details of her perfect wedding day to her psychiatrist Farrah, only for Farrah to interrupt her and it soon became clear that Cleo had been telling lies.

As she sat in a hospital bed, she admitted the true sequence of events, which saw her cover up bruises with make-up, use whitener to cover her rotting teeth, and run upstairs to make herself sick after eating a bacon butty.

Her wedding dress also didn't fit because she lost so much weight, and she felt sick and sweaty while walking down the aisle.

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