Metin's first Youtube video received 1,000 hits within minutes of being posted on YouTubeSimon Metin

On New Years Eve 2012, Simon Metin uploaded the first of a series of YouTube videos. Little did the King’s College student know what impact the videos, which discuss his recovery from anorexia, would have. They have now received thousands of hits, and public attention to Metin’s cause has escalated. His story has been covered by the national and international press, extending to an appearance on Monday on CNN Turkey watched by over 4 million people. 

Speaking to Varsity, the third-year Medicine student said he had got the idea to make the video after subscribing to a channel ‘furiouspete123’, featuring a competitive eater who would perform stunts, such as eating twenty doughnuts in under two minutes. After this man published a video about having once suffered from anorexia, Simon said ‘I realised I had an equally wacky story where I ended up in Cambridge to study medicine after being an in-patient for over two years’. Metin had already been the subject of media attention, after appearing in the BBC Three documentary ‘I am a Boy Anorexic’ in 2007. His intention with these videos has been to answer the questions he has been receiving from viewers since the documentary aired, as well as to use his experiences to encourage other sufferers to seek treatment.

He did not anticipate the remarkable public response his videos have received, however. “I was expecting trolls to comment on it seeing as they have said some nasty things in the past on the documentary towards me; for example, ‘these people are clearly defective. Just send them all the Auschwitz and the problem is solved’’’.

Male anorexia is a growing issue. NHS figures show that the number of males admitted to hospitals for eating disorders has increased by 66% over the last decade. The eating disorder charity B-eat estimates that of the 1.6 million anorexic people in Britain, one in five are male. The rise has been attributed to the increased targeting of men for fitness products and advertisements. Male ‘thinspiration’ blogs display men with chiselled six packs as an unattainable goal.

It is still difficult, however, for men to receive treatment. Doctors are slower to diagnose anorexia in male patients, which represents a significant problem because people who suffer from anorexia will often fail to recognise that they are ill. Moreover, media portrayal of anorexia as a teenage girl’s disease means men often fear being regarded as ‘weak’ for seeking out help.

Comments under the student’s videos now include demands for him to write a book. Simon, however, plans to answer any remaining questions on YouTube, and perhaps collaborate with B-eat in their approaching Eating Disorder Awareness week.

CUSU Welfare Officer, Chris Page, commented: “I applaud Simon Metin’s bravery in making his videos on male anorexia, as well as the work of charities like Men Get Eating Disorders Too; like many mental health conditions, part of the problem is silence on the issue, and it’s fantastic to see someone making the reality of matters clear.”

As for the response he has gotten at the University, Simon says, “most people are looking at the whole picture, where I had a mental disorder but am trying to use that to help others”. He adds, “ever since my story was published a few people are jokingly calling me a celebrity. It's funny and I am happy they are accepting me for what I was.”

Check out Simon Metin's YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/smetin92

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