HMC Insight: Helping young people to help themselves

10 December 2015
Posted by Heidi Salmons
Writer, campaigner and school adviser Natasha Devon MBE was appointed the government’s first mental health champion in August.

Here she tells Insight about her own teenage eating disorder and her mission to help schools tackle self-harm and depression safely and effectively.

I was one of two girls from my single sex comprehensive to attend the same university. The other girl, Sarah*, didn’t socialise in the same circles as me, so I was surprised when I received a note asking if I’d go and visit her in one of the adjoining halls of residence.

I’ll never forget the sight that greeted me as I entered her room. Sarah was half reclining on her bed, draped in various jumpers and blankets. Her head seemed enormous, her hair was thin, her bones protruded even through her thick layers of clothing.

“Anorexia,” I said. She nodded, even though it wasn’t really a question.

It had been well publicised amongst the school gossips that I’d struggled for a time with the same illness, which I assumed was why I was in Sarah’s room. In fact at that very moment, in my second year of uni, I was in the grips of bulimia nervosa (a far less visually apparent ailment).

To read more, see issue 5 of HMC's Insight magazine.