THE BLOG
16/03/2015 11:42 GMT | Updated 16/05/2015 06:59 BST

Help Me FIX Young People's Mental Health

I am so over the way my generation is represented - or should I say 'misrepresented'. Look at mainstream media and, seemingly, we're too busy capturing the best selfie or working out how to get on the next reality TV show to care about the world or our lives within it.

That's total bull!

We're encouraged to take an interest in politics, told our voice matters... but when I've tried to make a noise about what I care about to the country's 'top people' all I've met is silence.

I've written to PM David Cameron four times about an issue affecting lots of young people - eating disorders and body image - and have been ignored.

I say ignored... I *did* receive what appeared to be a duplicated letter sent out by one of his people. Brilliant!

It's not stopped me trying to share my campaign, because I really do care. About my future - and that of my peers. And future generations.

I want the Government to address the serious problem we face now with young people growing up with negative messages of what they should look like - and issues such as anorexia and bulimia.

At the age of 21, I am learning to love myself, after a dreadful struggle with an eating disorder.

It's still a daily battle to stay well.

It began when I was 16 years old.

Growing up, I never felt 'good enough', I always wanted to be 'more', because if I was 'more' then people would love me and I would love myself. .. Well that's how I saw it, anyway.

Flicking through magazines - like Heat and Closer - I always saw happy, thin celebrities and it suddenly clicked in my head: If I was that body type then all my problems would go away. So I decided to drastically change - my hair, my personality, my weight...

Anorexia took hold until I was nothing.

Food became the enemy and 'Shannon' - I - became no more.

My illness got so bad that I considered suicide. Thankfully, I decided to fight. I began a long journey of going to in-patient and out-patient treatment, feeding myself... learning coping mechanisms when I was having feelings I couldn't control.

As I started to get better, I started to blog: I wanted people to hear my story and I was ready to voice it, loud and clear. I wanted to stop anyone else going through what I had.

And now, there are things I want to be done in society. For example: why isn't learning self-confidence, loving oneself and one's body type introduced in schools? I can honestly say that if this had been discussed in school maybe my eating disorder wouldn't have taken control as much as it did.

Secondly, why isn't the importance of food talked about in school? For me food is still the enemy because, still to this day, I don't understand about nutrients, good/bad fats... calories and why we need them. I've had to pay for a course to help me become more educated about this.

Thirdly - and it's back to those magazines - why are editors allowed to Photoshop pictures... to judge other women? Why is their opinion so important that it gets printed? For me, that's a woman hating on women and that is not what we need.

We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and accept ourselves. We need to be positive and love ourselves because, if we can't do that, than what have we got?

I may still be waiting for an invitation to Number 10 Downing Street, but I'm blazing my own campaign trail. I've worked with the charity Fixers to create an awareness film about all the issues regarding body issues that are important to me. You can watch it here.

We all need to feel that we can discuss our problems and our mental health issues.

I'm excited to be a panellist on Fixers' inaugural young person's mental health debate next week.

I'll be joined by other young people, who campaign about all kinds of mental issues, from cyber bullying to self-harm.

I am proud to be able to have my say on shaping the future of mental health support for our generation and the ones that follow - and I would love you to join me.

Come along, say 'Hello!' and have your say!