I am the mother of three children one son and two daughters and both my daughters had an eating disorder. One had anorexia and the other had bulimia/binge eating. My daughters are in good recovery and are both married with children. I also looked after my brother who had schizophrenia.
I was running a helium balloon company before and during the time my family were ill. However looking after those who have a mental illness can change your life and I was struck by how much other families were struggling with their care giving role. So I decided to sell the balloon business and set up “Eating Disorders and Carers”. My work which is very varied is all about supporting families and working with professionals and patients to ensure that the family voice is heard.
17 years on and I now work across the mental health field. This ranges from training professionals and families to inspecting secure units and setting the standards. I sit on a variety of advisory boards and other committees as well as presenting at conferences and professional and family groups.
I feel passionately that carers are a vital link between those they care for and the professionals. Carers should be recognised and supported in their role.
In 2008 I was awarded an Eating Disorders National Award from beat (formerly the Eating Disorders Association) in recognition of my contribution to the world of eating disorders.
In 2013 I won the award “Carer Contributor of the Year 2013” given by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.