Mental health charities have warned figures released by NHS England showing a rise in children receiving urgent treatment for eating disorders are “deeply worrying.”

The stats shows 13 children and young people aged under 19 began treatment for urgent cases of eating disorders at the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust last year.

This has more than doubled from six in 2019, with the figure also becoming the highest on record.

Routine cases were also on the up last year compared to 2020, with 21 under-19s starting treatment for routine cases - though this was the same figure as 2019.

“The factors behind eating disorders are often complex, but the pandemic has left many young people isolated, uncertain about the future and less in control. Many may also have lost access to their usual routines and coping mechanisms,” said Tom Madders, Director of communications and campaigns at mental health charity YoungMinds .

“The pandemic turned lives upside down and hit young people particularly hard, but community eating disorder services continue to step up to treat increasing numbers that require care,” added an NHS spokewoman“