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Rachael takes anorexia battle into schools
1:00pm Thursday 7th February 2013 in News
A FORMER Great Sankey High School student is helping other pupils with mental health and body image issues after battling anorexia herself.
At her lowest ebb, Rachael Johnston weighed just four and a half stone and said she was still looking at her scales thinking it could not be right.
The 21-year-old is now putting her experience to the best possible use by creating social enterprise Journey Back to Life and supporting youngsters in the town.
Rachael, who previously worked for Warrington Disability Partnership, said: “A lot of people were asking for someone to give talks on mental health for school children so I talk to primary school kids about body image and self-esteem and talk to secondary and college students more in depth about my journey and pictures of me at my lowest.
“For younger children it’s about finding positive things about yourself and not being so worried about how your hair looks or if it rains and goes curly.
“I ask for feedback at the end of sessions and I can tell now which children want to write something down whether it’s telling me they used to self-harm and don’t want their friends to find out or being worried they can’t fit into skinny jeans and all their friends can.”
Rachael set up the enterprise in October last year and said the media and peer pressure are to blame for confidence issues among the town’s youngsters.
She was 13-years-old when she says her eating got out of control as a result of very low self-esteem, bullys and her great grandma, who she was very close to, dying.
The campaigner, whose mum launched an epetition against airbrushing and is supporting next week’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week said feedback from youngsters is what keeps her going.
She added: “I wasn’t sure if kids would say anything but the feedback has been lovely and the talks are obviously making them realise they’re not on their own.”
Visit journeybacktolife.org.uk for more details.