Leeds mum invited to join the board of national men's eating disorders charity
A Leeds mum who became a campaigner after her teenage son developed anorexia has been invited to join the Board of a national men's charity tackling eating disorders.
Bev Mattocks Osborne, who spent several years fighting to get her son through anorexia is joining the charity Men Get Eating Disorders Too (MGEDT) as a Trustee.
Men Get Eating Disorders Too was founded in 2008 by Sam Thomas as a response to the lack of awareness and adequate information and support for men and boys battling with an eating disorder.
Bev, who has authored two books on eating disorders - including a first-hand account of her son’s struggle to recover from anorexia - and a blog aimed at helping and supporting other parents of boys with eating disorders, says: “Being invited to become a Trustee came as a bit of a surprise. I immediately said ‘Yes!’ I have met Sam Thomas of MGEDT on a number of occasions, often when we were both speaking at conferences on eating disorders. I have been inspired by his dedication at raising the profile of this important charity.”
Back in 2009 when her son began to show typical signs of anorexia, Bev, like many people, was completely unaware that males can get eating disorders. “As a result I didn’t recognise the warning signs,” she says. “I knew that something was very wrong with my son, but I had no idea what it was. Once the penny dropped, I struggled to get my son officially diagnosed with an eating disorder and referred for treatment. When he did eventually get referred we were told that the waiting list could be 18-22 weeks. Meanwhile my son was getting worse by the day.”
Bev doesn’t want other families to go through what they went through. “To have to hang around for months watching your child – whether male or female - head towards possible death because they can't access treatment is something that no parent should have to ensure. This is why I have campaigned via my books, blog, talks and media appearances to raise awareness of the fact that boys get eating disorders and that eating disorders can be deadly”, she says.
Today, Bev’s son is fully recovered and has just completed a Master’s Degree at Sheffield University.
Sam Thomas adds: "Typically eating disorders are perceived to be conditions that affect only females – this is far from the case. Between 10 and 25 per cent of those people experiencing eating disorders are male. The work of Men Get Eating Disorders Too aims to get males and eating disorders on the agenda by campaigning and raising awareness."
Bev will be joining the new
Chairperson, Plymouth-based mental health campaigner and fellow mum of a son who has battled with an eating disorder, Debbie Roche, and other new trustees including campaigner and mental health spokesperson Danny Bowman and James Down, campaigner and member of the cross-party group for eating disorders at the Welsh Assembly.