AFTER living with an eating disorder for 18 years, an Isle of Wight woman is hoping to build a better support network for sufferers on the Island.

Helen Brinsdon first developed anorexia when she was 25.

She said she struggled to get treatment because of the lack of services on the Isle of Wight and last year had to seek private treatment on the mainland.

Helen, 43, said: "Although my therapist is amazing and really does understand me, back home that support doesn't continue — there isn't anything like it."

Now Helen is hoping to build a support network for those suffering with eating disorders on the Island, starting with a Walk and Talk at Yarmouth, on December 9.

She said: "A lot of people don't want to come forward, and don't want to talk about it, so there's no support network, or any kind of support groups."

Anorexia has the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness.

Helen said she wanted to start a conversation on the Isle of Wight: "People shouldn't have to suffer alone, and together we can change the way eating disorders are viewed in a small community, and possibly get a small support group set up."

Helen will also be fundraising for Beat — which supported her when she attended a group in Winchester.

She said her personal recovery was hard, but she did not want others to feel like they had to suffer in silence.

She said: "It is a daily battle which I constantly have to fight.

"Even with some weight restoration the mental pain isn’t any better. In fact, it’s worse.

"Eating disorders are fatal illnesses that devastate the lives not only of the sufferer but also loved ones around them.”

Helen has also spoken to Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely, who wished her luck with her fundraising.

He said: "She has raised awareness to help people with eating disorders on the Island and that's important work."

Beat's community fundraiser, Andrea Auburn, said: "There is something special about the conversations we have while walking, and Helen's Walk and Talk will help to combat the secrecy and misunderstanding which surrounds eating disorders. This will help Beat ensure sufferers and their families get the support they need."

To find out more about the Walk and Talk you can contact Helen on