EATING disorders among teenagers and young adults are becoming more prevalent, prompting a support group to set up a special counselling programme to focus on those problems. The director of KELY, Chris Simpson, said while drugs and suicide were still the major problems for young people, there had been an increase in the number of people whose emotional problems manifested in eating disorders, especially among English-speaking teenagers. He said like suicide and drug abuse, eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa were symptoms of a deeper underlying unhappiness. 'Low self-esteem or poor self-image are at the root of all these disorders,' he said. The KELY support group operates group counselling sessions involving teenagers with similar problems. 'We basically provide a safe, secure, non-judgmental environment in which young people can freely express problematic issues in their life,' Mr Simpson said. According to KELY's education and development officer, Susie Fung Bo-yee, a 24-hour Cantonese hotline has provided help to almost 300 teenagers since being set up in September last year, while an English line has had 'several thousand' clients since it started in 1991. Meanwhile, the International Student Organisation of Hong Kong, comprising locally born students who have studied overseas, has agreed to donate funds from a charity ball on December 28 to the KELY programme.