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Anorexia diagnosis at 12

Your Question

My younger sister, who is 12 (nearly 13), was diagnosed with Anorexia last year. It’s been really tough on our family. She’s been eating her meals but still struggles with certain foods due to fear. She’s doing better, but still she’s struggling a lot. She’s been self-harming and expressing thoughts of not wanting to be here. Our parents have taken her to numerous therapy sessions, including CAHMS, but her self-esteem and body image are still really low. It’s so sad to see her like this. She has her ASD assessment next week, and we’re hoping it will lead to more, better help for her. We’re wondering if Pieta House could also help her. Despite taking medication, she is still struggling with her mental health. We’re hopeful that because she’s young, she can recover. Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated.


Hello there, thank you so much for getting in touch.
First of all, we want to extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family for what you’re going through. It sounds incredibly tough, but you’re not alone in facing these challenges. Watching a loved one struggle with mental health issues, especially at such a young age, can be very difficult and overwhelming. Your care and concern for your younger sister’s well-being are truly admirable.
It’s evident from your message that your family has been proactive in seeking help for your sister, which is a crucial step in her journey towards recovery. Therapy sessions, including those with CAHMS, are essential for providing her with the support and guidance she needs. Additionally, pursuing an ASD assessment for her is another positive step forward. Understanding her needs better, can indeed lead to a more individual programme for her.
You mentioned Pieta House as a potential resource, and you’re absolutely correct. Pieta House specialises in supporting individuals who are struggling with self-harm and suicidal ideation. They offer a range of services tailored to the specific needs of each person, including counselling and therapeutic support. You can contact them through their website (above) for more information. If your sister needs to contact them for support for her suicidal thought, she can free phone them at 1800 247 247 or text them HELP to 51444.
Remember, you are never alone in this journey. The Childline team are dedicated to providing support and assistance to young people like your sister, and you too. We offer confidential and non-judgmental support, 24 hours a day, every day. Whether it’s through a phone call (freephone 1800 66 66 66)or Live Chat (through, reaching out to Childline can provide you with the opportunity to talk about your feelings, explore your options, and access the help you need.
Please know that recovery is possible, and it’s okay to look for help and support along the way. Keep being there for your sister, and don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance for yourself too whenever you need it. You’re doing a great job supporting her, and there is hope for brighter days ahead.
Take care of yourself,

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