Eating Disorder Charity Hold Special Service
Norwich based charity Beat is holding its first ever Service of Dedication at Southwark Cathedral in London, in memory of the lives lost through eating disorders.
They want to draw attention to the fact that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. 20% affected will die - the rate is 3x higher than depression, schizophrenia or alcoholism and 12x higher than in the general population.
19-year-old Sophie from Reepham in Norfolk has suffered from eating disorders since she was 15 and told Heart it can be quite difficult at times to think about what it does to you: "I was being told that I am slowly killing myself by family, my consultant etc. But it never really hit me and I don't think it still hits me now. It was more of a 'I'm fed up with the way I'm living. I'm slowly rotting away - I can't socialise very well anymore.' I wanted to be happy and healthy again."
She is now a young ambassador for the charity and says she thinks it helps young people: "You can all read about a celebrity who has become really thin, but it's not really close to you. But seeing someone else who is the same age as you, who has been through the same things as you - it is quite shocking at times. I also think it's really useful if you can say how you've recovered from it - it gives other young people who may be suffering from an eating disorder hope that I can recover from this too. If they managed to do it, maybe I can as well."