A SOLIHULL mother who nearly died battling anorexia has taken her campaign for better mental health services to Westminster.
Jo Thompson, from Solihull, spoke to ministers about her experience of battling the eating disorder and offered recommendations on how to improve support for sufferers.
The 23-year-old mother of two told MPs how she nearly died fighting anorexia at the age of 11 after her weight plummeted to four stone within six months.
Once hospitalised, doctors gave Jo just 48 hours to live.
But she pulled through – spending the next six years in and out of hospitals battling the illness.
Drawing on her personal experience, Jo told MPs that it was important to realise having an eating disorder isn’t black and white – that it’s not a simple case of just eating more.
She added: “Eating disorders go hand-in-hand with mental health implications so it’s about treating the mind as well as the body.
“It is widely believed that anorexia is purely about being a low weight and whilst this is often involved with eating disorders they are so much more than just that.”
“It was fantastic being able to discuss my issues with MPs and they reacted very positively to what they saw and heard.
“Hopefully they will go away from this and make some changes.”
Jo’s Westminster speech was part of a wider event organised by Fixers – a charity which helps young people get their voices heard by people who can help make a difference.
This year the charity aims to identify the key problems facing young people with mental ill-heath and establish practical solutions.
Describing Jo as ‘bright, intelligent and brave’, Solihull MP Julian Knight said: “Jo has clearly been through this challenge and she’s met that challenge.
“You can see she’s not afraid, and that’s the thing with mental health, you can see she’s not afraid to talk about it.
“You can’t be afraid to meet the challenges of mental health, not just as individuals, but as a country, a community, and I think Jo really embodies that.”