- By On-Screen Journalist Nitya Rajan
"In my darkest days with my body image, I did have suicidal thoughts," a blogger who developed Bulimia as 13-year-old has revealed.
Speaking to ITV News for Mental Health Awareness Week, Georgie Kelly, 22, said the thought of taking her own life as a teenager because of how felt about her body was "scary."
Ms Kelly kept her eating disorder hidden for the majority of her teenage years and was only diagnosed with Bulimia four days before her 21st birthday.
Georgie now helps others with their body image and mental health by volunteering at mental health charity, Time to Change.
However, stories like her's are becoming more common.
Just over one in eight British adults has experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of their body image, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Research found 13% of adults had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image.
The charity Childline, which caters to children under the age of 18, reports a 22% increase in the number of counselling sessions given about eating/body image disorders.
The Birmingham base reports more than 900 counselling sessions, with more than 800 of those calls being made by girls.
Clinical psychologist Dr Ameera Zumla believes the "pressure" from peers, family or social media for young people to "look a certain way" is feeding into the rise of young people being worried about body image.
She said: "Often what can happen is that these thoughts and internal thoughts and feelings can completely take over and therefore, they can become distorted, they can become excessive."
She added: "This sometimes for young people can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, of low mood, of anxiety and sometimes, of suicidal ideations."
During Ms Kelly's school years nobody suspected she had Bulimia.
The photo seen below stands out as being a particular low point for her.
She told ITV News: "I was in a really bad place in that [below] photo, which is why I'm kind of hid behind her. You can only see like half of my body. Just because I thought if I'm behind her then you can only see half of me and people won't look at that the photo and think 'oh my God she's big.'"
Ms Kelly said comments about how good she looked while she was losing weight fed into her need to keep making herself sick and she always felt worse afterwards.
She said: "When I used to make myself throw up, I'd sit by the toilet after I had done it.
"I always did it in the toilet...I'd sit by the edge of the toilet and just cry."
After she was diagnosed, Ms Kelly said she made a conscious effort to talk more openly about having tough days.
She credits Instagram with helping her and others have a "safe space" to share their anxieties.
"I like to create a safe space for them where we can talk and say 'it's ok' and say 'I'm having a rubbish day as well.'"
Dr Zumla believes there is more room for preventative education work about body image and its relation to mental health with schools, young people and families.
She told ITV News: "Behavioural signs to look out for include excessive focus on body image, constantly looking in the mirror, excessive weighing, dieting, make up-surgeries."
She added: "Young people can be encouraged to accept themselves for the way that they are and build self esteem in other values that are important to them."
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