Ex-model and psychiatrist team up for Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Wales news
05 June 2020

A former model and psychiatrist teamed up to deliver a special assembly on body image and social media at a Newport school, this week.

Dr Jacinta Tan and ex-model turned Youtube Vlogger; Jessica Davies delivered a workshop to primary school children from Alway Primary on Tuesday (3 March).

A recent survey found 35 per cent of 9-year-old and 38 per cent of 10-year-old girls had body dissatisfaction, with 11 per cent and 7 per cent associated with eating problems.

And eating disorders are the most lethal and deadliest of mental health conditions and research shows early intervention saves lives.

The Celebrate Everybody Project, delivered by children and young people’s mental health services and supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales, aimed to increase resilience against poor body esteem.

The event focused on the negative portrayal of celebrities in the media and the pressures of young people on social media sites such as Instagram.

A video of an ex-eating disorder patient was also be shown to help raise awareness of conditions such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Dr Jacinta Tan, chair of the eating disorder faulty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales, said:

“These workshops are important in raising awareness because we know that diagnosing and treating eating disorders at an early stage, saves lives.

“Poor body image is common. It can develop in childhood and its very sensitive to family and social influences.

“There is a body of evidence that media literacy can challenge unrealistic ideals and prevent poor body image.

“Furthermore, the advent of social media and idealised body images has created even more threats to positive body image and fostered more body dissatisfaction in both sexes, even amongst young children."

Jessica Davies is originally from Aberystwyth but now lives in Cardiff. She is an ex-glamour model. A mental health and body positivity advocate, Jessica has amassed 148k followers on Instagram.

Jessica added:

“There is such pressure on young people to meet ideals that are set by themselves, and by society. I love what this project aims to achieve and I’m so pleased to share my own personal experiences.

“There is much that I loved about my modelling days, I gained many friends and travelled. However, the pressure to conform to a portrayal required by an industry was significant and the rejection was often damaging.

“There is so much that can be gained by acceptance and body positivity. Accepting that whilst we all have insecurities about body image, we can understand where this comes from and how it is influenced – that’s an important message for young people.”

Workshops were run in six secondary and primary schools, thanks to £24,544.94 funding from eating disorder charity, EMS Ltd.