THE Covid pandemic is having a huge impact on people suffering with eating disorders, a grieving mother fears.

Sue Barnes, whose daughter Kayleigh died aged 29 after a battle with anorexia, is reaching out to help those who are living with eating disorders during this difficult time.

Sue said: "I fear for the future of our children’s mental health and especially around eating disorders.

"We have been lashed with issues around weight increase during the lockdown, yet denied access for our children to exercise.

"When stress is high, during the pandemic, when the controls are changed, when you cannot go out, cannot visit, cannot see your doctor, mental health nurse, support worker — the list of triggers goes on and on.

"Teenagers at university have been hugely affected, children at school have missed out socially as well as educationally, and not all home tutored children are lucky enough to have diligent parents.

"I despair for the future of our children and the damage we have done to their mental health for the future.

"Obviously, we will not know for quite some time what the effects will be as they slowly come to the surface.

"The Royal College of Psychiatrists has called on Boris Johnson’s government and the NHS to tackle what it said was now a crisis in child mental health.

"It also called for better training of all medical workers in spotting the early signs of eating disorders.

"Sadly there is still ignorance about anorexia nervosa, this severe mental health illness."

Sue runs Kae's Trust CIC (Community Interest Company), which raises awareness and educates people about eating disorders.

She said there are a lot of misconceptions around.

"Eating disorders are so misunderstood," Sue said.

"In a recent conversation with a youth worker, she told me she hadn’t realised anorexia was a mental health disorder. She was on the frontline, working to help spot the signs of mental health problems.

"Another lady said she didn’t think we had anorexia 'down here' on the Island.

"Suffering from an eating disorder is terrifying for everyone. Not having the support and help needed ramps up the anxiety for the whole family.

"Adults are being turned away as their BMI is not low enough to be helped.

"I am the very proud mother of Kayleigh Rose Barnes who died on March 18, 2018.

"She was an incredibly beautiful, intelligent, kind, empathic and special girl was formally diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when she was 18 years old."

Sue recently spoke via Zoom to 320 medical students, to help them spot the signs of eating disorders.

NHS England data showed there were 21,794 admissions for eating disorders among all age groups in 2019-2020, up 13 per cent on the previous year.

For children aged 18 and under, there was a nine per cent rise in admissions from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020.

For more advice, go to Kae's Trust CIC

For the NHS, click here