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Three young people who have accessed local eating disorder services have recorded video messages

Three young people who have accessed local eating disorder services have recorded video messages in a bid to help others who are going through similar experiences and to help stamp out stigma that surrounds this illness.

Zoe Blackmore, Millie Kenworthy and Katie Smith bravely shared their stories to mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week – a national campaign run by eating disorder charity Beat, which is taking place this year between 27 February and 5 March.

In the three videos, Zoe, Millie and Katie, along with their mums Alison, Heidi and Deborah, speak candidly about how they coped when they were diagnosed with an eating disorder and how the support they accessed from the local young people’s community eating disorder service helped them to make a full recovery.

5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will be delivering the specialist service in Halton, Knowsley, St Helens, Warrington, Wigan and Bolton for the next three years in partnership with Beat, who will be working closely with local schools and colleges to raise awareness of eating disorders and support available locally.

The service will provide assessment, treatment and support for young people with eating disorders and their families. It will be delivered by a specialist, multi-professional team including family therapists, dietitians, doctors and nurses.

Zoe, who was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa seven years ago at the age of 14, is now 21 and is working as an admin manager in Northwich. She 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.”

“The first step on the road to recovery is admitting to yourself that you have a problem. It’s so hard to talk about how you’re feeling but the illness thrives on secrecy so don’t shy away from seeking help – the sooner you get help, the better. It will be a long journey but it will be worth it.”

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 1 April in Bolton.

“To access our service, we’d advise young people to visit their GP, or talk to a school nurse or school-based professional who will be able to make a referral for them to our service if they think we can help. Young people and families will also be able to self-refer to the service through an electronic form on our website from 1 April, making it even easier for people to access the support they need.”

Watch Zoe, Millie and Katie’s videos on our YouTube channel via the links below:

Zoe's story -
Millie's story -
Katie's story -

You can find out more about our young people’s community eating disorder service at:  

Anyone who is concerned that they or someone they know may have an eating disorder can also contact Beat’s helpline for support, advice and information on 0345 634 1414 or visit People under the age of 18 can contact Beat’s Youthline on 0345 634 7650.

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