Less than a year since forming a bold new organisation to tackle eating disorders, its founder has been welcomed to Westminster to share her vision.
Debbie Watson, who created the not for profit enterprise Wednesday’s Child, was invited to the House of Lords by Baroness Kate Parminter.
Life Peer Baroness Parminter has spoken publicly on a number of occasions about eating disorders, having experienced the devastating illness within her own family in recent years.
She extended an invitation to Ms Watson, to discuss what more needs to be done by the government to support sufferers of eating disorders and to hear of the early success and longer-term aspirations of Wednesday’s Child.
Speaking after the successful meeting, Ms Watson said: “I am extremely grateful for the enormous insight Baroness Parminter was able to share, and in particular, so humbled by the kind comments and support she expressed for the work of Wednesday’s Child.”
Baroness Parminter was able to clarify that she has three priorities on the issue of eating disorders in the year ahead, those being the improvement of GP training around eating disorders; vastly enhanced prevalence data for eating disorders; and seeing improvement to integrated care for adults with eating disorders.
She said: “A great deal of work is required across the length and breadth of this country to improve the way in which families and individuals are supported through their eating disorder experiences.
“However, we must also make fundamental differences in the way in which our healthcare professionals are trained, and the way data about the illness is reported. These are factors which I am giving a lot of my attention in the months ahead.”
She added: “I applaud Wednesday’s Child for its hands-on delivery, which is already making a difference to the lives of those affected by eating disorders.
“As work at parliamentary level progresses this year, I will be keeping Debbie informed and ensuring that her voice can be added to this important conversation.”
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness. They remain poorly understood by many, and suffer from a continued stigma, despite improvements in dialogue around mental health.
Wednesday’s Child’s founder, Debbie, herself experienced an eating disorder for more than 20 years and now leads the organisation with its varied support programmes, events and services.
The organisation’s new Parent Support Programme runs for six months and begins in early March.
If you’d like to know more about the programme, please email the Wednesday’s Child team on firstname.lastname@example.org.