Portsmouth family facing ‘very scary time’ as 15-year-old fights eating disorder anorexia warns: ‘look out for the signs’

A FAMILY at ‘crisis point’ as their teenage daughter fights towards recovery from her eating disorder is sending out a plea to other parents to ‘watch out for the signs’.

Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 7:07 am

Mia Remnant, a 15-year-old from Paulsgrove, was diagnosed with anorexia two years ago.

Desperate to help her recover from the illness, Mia’s family have set up a GoFundMe page to raise enough money to get the teenager the support she needs.

Anthony Remnant, 40, Mia’s dad, said: ‘Things have just hit as low as they can go before the very worst can happen.

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Sister Lily, brother Luke, and Mia.

‘Her body is in starvation mode and her brain, heart and organs are starting to eat themselves.

‘The doctor at the hospital said she's the illest she's ever seen for her age.

‘It’s a very scary time.’

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Despite the severity of Mia’s illness, the family have struggled to get her the help she needs.

Anthony added: ‘We just really want to raise as much awareness as we can about teenage mental health and eating disorders as right now the state of the situation is unbelievable.

‘The help - as in the help that works and is available - just isn't there.’

While Mia has been supported by CAMHS for two years, Anthony says that the service has been helpful but ‘understaffed’, and that ‘the training’s not there’.

Mia Remnant, who is 15 years old.

He also feels ‘let down’ by the health service – particularly QA Hospital, which sent Mia home despite her condition.

Mia told The News: ‘It makes me feel just let down, like I’m just a number.

‘It never seems like anyone truly wanted me there.

‘They made me feel like I was wasting their bed. It’s been very confusing and misleading.’

Sister Lily, dad Anthony, and Mia.

The situation has left the family looking at private treatments and therapies, which cost thousands of pounds.

Anthony said: ‘The private clinics that we’ve been speaking to, they seem to have the cure. But we can’t understand why it’s costing people thousands of pounds. This is children we’re talking about.’

The family say Mia’s health has deteriorated since moving to a flat in Paulsgrove, but her problems were exacerbated by bullying at school.

Mum Katie Fuller said that Springfield School’s lack of care has been ‘shocking’, while Mia added: ‘It just feels like I was never really part of their school and they never really cared.’

However, a representative from the school said that it has ‘consistently’ supported Mia and that it does not ‘tolerate’ bullying.

Anthony, who is also concerned about the impact of trolling on social media on young minds, added: ‘Mia’s always been perfect, but at school she’d get comments saying she’s fat or weird.

‘She hasn’t been back to school for two years.’

A spokesperson for Springfield School said: ‘We have consistently supported this pupil, liaising with her family and the other agencies working with her, including CAMHS.

‘Over recent months, her education has been provided by the Harbour School's Reintegration and Tuition Service.

‘The support being provided will be reviewed by all the agencies involved in her care at the end of this month, and this will include provision for her ongoing education needs.

‘Our school expects all pupils to demonstrate care and respect for others, and bullying of any kind is not tolerated.’

Katie, 39, has had to give up her job to become her daughter’s full-time carer as she ‘wants to help my daughter as much as possible’ and believes that there needs to be more support for children and families facing these issues.

She said: ‘It’s a tough, long journey. Financially, it’s been really difficult. Mentally, it’s very taxing, physically. It does wipe you out completely.’

Anthony added: ‘If it wasn’t for Katie, Mia wouldn’t be here now - parents need more support too, they’re really on the front line.

‘We literally don’t have time for anything else - everything is structured around mealtimes.’

As Mia’s parents and her brother Luke, 21, and sister Lily, 12, rally around her, the family say they are very keen to raise awareness of mental health and eating disorders.

Mia said: ‘I want to spread awareness for anyone else who is struggling and don’t know how to cope with it - they might think that they’re the only one struggling with it.

‘I just want to make people feel like they’re not alone and they deserve to get help. If they’re willing to fight, then things will get better.’

Both Anthony and Katie believe that ‘the scale of the problem is huge’ and many children are ‘suffering’ with mental health issues at the moment.

Anthony said: ‘You can’t watch over your children 24 hours a day, but when they’re going through changes, they’re the times to be keeping an eye on them. We missed so many of the signs. When your child doesn’t want to socialise, or wants to spend a lot of time in their room. You’ll notice a personality change.

‘Other signs to look out for are calorie counting, and if your child has the apps that do the calorie counting, and also obsessing over the gym and exercise.’

Katie says she wants to encourage children who are struggling with mental health or eating disorders to reach out to their parents or someone they trust.

She added: ‘Early intervention is better - this is scary and dangerous, and my advice to parents is to be prepared and don’t take no for an answer from the services.

‘The damage this could have on Mia, she might not be able to have children. It’s not just mental health, it affects the organs in your body and can lead to death’.

Mia added: ‘It affects your insides so much that you don’t notice the changes inside your body.’

The family is planning to hold events to raise money and awareness, including a bike ride from London to Snowdon that Anthony and Luke are preparing to embark upon on May 27.