Women diagnosed with eating disorders have recorded video messages in a bid to help others.
Zoe Blackmore, Millie Kenworthy and Katie Smith bravely shared their stories to mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week – a national campaign run by charity Beat.
The women and their mothers speak about how they coped when they were diagnosed and the support from the young people’s community eating disorder service.
The service will be delivered in Wigan, plus other parts of the region, by 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust with Beat for the next three years.
They will work closely with schools and colleges to raise awareness of eating disorders and support available.
Zoe, from Lowton, is in a video with her mum Alison. She was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa seven years ago.
Admin manager Zoe, 21, said: “Getting help wasn’t easy but looking back, it’s amazing to think how far I’ve come. When I first started coming to the service, I weighed just five stone and I was really unwell. My eating disorder was taking over my life.
“Thanks to the help I got from the team, I was well enough to finish high school and college, and I’m now working in a job that I really enjoy.”
Katie, 19, who lives in Lowton, shared her experiences alongside her mum Deborah.
She was diagnosed with anorexia after eating very little and exercising a lot.
She urged other people with an eating disorder to get help and “keep fighting”.
The eating disorders service will provide assessment, treatment and support for young people with eating disorders and their families. It will be delivered by a team including family therapists, dietitians, doctors and nurses.
Dr Sandeep Ranote, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and eating disorders lead at 5 Boroughs Partnership, said: “It’s so important that other young people like Zoe, Millie and Katie are able to access dedicated eating disorder support from a specialist service, so I’m delighted that we will now be delivering this service across Halton, Knowsley, St Helens, Warrington and Wigan, and from April 1 in Bolton.”
Young people can access the service via their GP, school nurse or school-based professional. Self-referrals will be available online from April 1.
For more information, go to www.5boroughspartnership.nhs.uk/young-peoples-community-eating-disorder-service or contact Beat on 0345 634 1414 or visit www.b-eat.co.uk