Deborah Watson joins Colin in this week’s episode of Suffolk Money, to tell him all about Wednesday’s Child; a not-for-profit organisation that helps support individuals and families affected by eating disorders.

Sharing her own personal experience of living with an eating disorder, Debbie talks candidly and openly about the issues she faced as a young person at university and the ‘perfect storm’ that lead to her developing anorexia nervosa. The lack of information about mental health during this time and the feelings of stigma associated with eating disorders, meant that it was very difficult, for her and her family, to seek help and support.

Despite Debbie’s illness, she managed to successfully complete her degree and was quickly offered a job as a journalist with the East Anglian Daily Times. Debbie describes how being able to create and shape a career path helped create an upward spiral towards recovery.

It is this lived experience of being ‘full of woe’ that inspired the organisation’s name, Wednesday’s Child; as defined in the old nursery rhyme. Debbie is passionate about not letting past experiences define a person and that every ‘Wednesday’s Child’ has the capacity to be as full of love, vibrancy and opportunity as a child born on every other day.

Having run a successful PR agency for over 20 years, Debbie set up Wednesday’s Child in 2019, determined to make a difference to the lives of those experiencing an eating disorder and, to aid those who care for them. She could see that there was still so little support available to people living with eating disorders and the eighteen-month NHS waiting list was leaving families feeling abandoned and desperate.

Her initial idea was to provide carefully curated gift boxes, which would be ideal for someone in recovery. This was met with lots of support, but Debbie then began receiving requests for therapy. The rise of Zoom during the 2020 lockdowns provided Debbie with the opportunity to contact therapists virtually and refer families; meaning those in need could access therapy within a matter of days rather than months.

Now working closely with schools and universities, as well as healthcare professionals and business leaders, Wednesday’s Child continues to enable people to reach out for help and support and to ease the suffering of individuals and families affected by an eating disorder.

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