Campaigner is praised in bid to raise awareness

Danny Bowman and MP Steve Brine in London.
Danny Bowman and MP Steve Brine in London.

A mental-health campaigner has been praised by the Government for his ‘insightful and powerful’ contribution to a national debate on eating disorders.

Danny Bowman, who has a history of body dysmorphia which led him to become obsessed with the way he looked, shared his experiences during a special conference in London.

The 20-year-old, who developed purging disorder after a modelling agency criticised his weight, used to spend 10 hours a day taking up to 200 selfies. He dropped two stone in a bid to take the perfect picture.

Danny became so obsessed with taking the best snap possible, he tried to kill himself when his efforts failed.

But after receiving intensive hospital therapy, Danny has since been raising awareness and campaigning to improve health services.

As part of this, he was one of 12 panellists with a history of eating disorders at the conference in London, which was hosted by social action charity Fixers and supported by The Wellcome Trust.

The panel shared their personal testimonies with world-renowned experts, including Professor Janet Treasure OBE and Dr Dasha Nicholls of Great Ormond Street Hospital, who chaired the debate.

The young people’s recommendations were compiled into a report and delivered to the Department of Health by Danny and a contingent of his fellow Fixers last week.

And Danny met MP Steve Brine, PPS to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, to hand over the document for consideration by Alistair Burt, Minister for Communities and Social Care.

Danny said: “I think it’s wonderful that young people can get together as a collective and tackle the issue.

“Eating disorders can be an incredibly hard thing to talk about, so creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to open up is amazing.

“It was an inspiring debate and I hope this is a sign the experts are listening to where we think they can make improvements to help everyone.

“It is fantastic to receive recognition from the Government for the work we’re doing with Fixers to create a better future for people with eating disorders.”

Danny, whose obsession led to him dropping out of school and remained housebound for six months, has also called for treatment centres for men with eating disorders.

He said: “When I was admitted to a clinic it was just me and one other guy among 50 women. It makes you feel like you shouldn’t be there, like you’re a man and you’re not supposed to have an eating disorder.”