Emmerdale's Gemma Oaten Speaks Out About Eating Disorder Battle
Emmerdale's Gemma Oaten has opened up about her 12-year battle with anorexia.
The actress appeared on ITV show This Morning and spoke about her experience in a bid to raise awareness for Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
"I had peaks of being well and then I would go back into a relapse. It was very difficult - I don’t think I’ve lived a full life," said the 30-year-old who plays Rachel Breckle on the popular soap.
She apparently first showed signs of anorexia at the age of ten when she stopped eating as a result of being bullied at school.
For the next twelve years she was in and out of hospital and it was only when she turned 22 that mindfulness techniques helped her on the road to recovery.
Gemma returned to Emmerdale as a witness at Charity Dingle's trial
After witnessing first-hand the pain their daughter endured, Gemma's parents set up their own charity, Seed, to help support those suffering from eating disorders.
Gemma is encouraging people to share their experiences: "I keep finding that people are not speaking out or being honest because there is this attachment of shame to the illness.
"There is a misunderstanding. It’s the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness – 20% of known sufferers die.
"Why are people not discussing it more? Why is it such a taboo subject? I just want to help raise awareness and get people talking about the problems, because things need to change."
Eating Disorder Awareness Week in the UK takes place from the 23rd of February to the 1st of March.
If you have been affected by an eating disorder, or are looking for further information, see www.bodywhys.ie or contact the Bodywhys Helpline on 1890 200 444.