As her daughter recovers from severe body dysmorphia, one mum fears the cost of living crisis could make it worse | UK News

Three years ago when Kelly Boone saw her daughter’s face without heavy makeup.

At the age of 11, Avella first began to have symptoms of a severe metabolic derangement (BDD) – she even had to consult a plastic surgeon and beg to be operated on. rhinoplasty.

Worst of all, she ran away from home and she covered her head with a towel just to go to the bathroom, not letting her family see her without a thick background.

In one “terrifying” episode, her father Patrick opened a package shipped to Avella – it contained injections and fillers purchased on a dodgy website.

This is not the first time Avella has tried “self-surgery”, as she has previously tried using razors and scissors to contour her nose.

“She didn’t actually use any of the things she bought – by luck,” says Kelly, from south Devon.

“It’s crippled. She’s a recluse, just living in her room.

“At one point I was sliding a tray of food across her bedroom floor in a dark room.”

When 17-year-old Avella took steps to recover, Kelly was concerned cost of living crisis will make things more difficult.

Two baths a day

Although Avella no longer wears much makeup, she still has a strict hygiene routine – including two baths a day – to help her deal with the body dysmorphia.

Amid rising energy costs, bills and inflation, there are concerns that this could become more difficult for families.

The family’s monthly gas bill has increased from £400 to more than £500. But for Kelly, the price is non-negotiable.

“She’s starting to recover and the benefits we’ve had, we can’t negotiate that,” Kelly told Sky News.

“It’s quite formal and quite necessary for her, and we can’t give in to those, while they may be a luxury for some.

“So we can’t cut our water bills, gas costs – these are non-negotiable, so our bills are disproportionate.”

Avella is also unable to get public transport. “She couldn’t sit facing someone,” her mother said—so instead they had to take her to therapy appointments, and before that to college.

“I couldn’t believe how quickly my tank went to zero,” Kelly said. “It’s very expensive.”

Read more about the cost of living crisis

Avella, 11 years old, before the onset of symptoms of the body disorder
Avella, 11 years old, before the onset of symptoms of the body disorder

‘Her recovery has to be at her pace – not a convenience for my energy bill’

Kelly said seeing Avella suffer was “appalling”.

“I would do anything to swap places for her,” she said.

“It was really hard and painful, but we also had some really high moments.

“Like the day she decided to remove her makeup and come down to show us.

“It was the first time in three years that we saw her without makeup.”

As the family lost day by day “hour by hour,” none of them wanted to see Avella slide back to where she was.

The mother-of-three said: “Any change required to her routine, other than what she does for herself of her own choosing, would cause immediate anxiety and distress. .

“This could affect other aspects of how she perceives herself. Her recovery has to be at her own pace, which is inconvenient for me due to energy bill concerns. increasing amount.”

One in three fears for their children

Kelly is not alone, as new research shows a third of parents think the cost-of-living crisis will significantly affect their children’s mental health.

These children, who spent their teenage years living through the COVID pandemic, face a cost-of-living crisis when they reach adulthood.

A poll of 2,150 UK parents – by Savanta ComRes and commissioned by the King’s Maudsley Partnership – found that a third of parents (33%) feel their child is currently experiencing mental health difficulties.

This percentage rises to 43% of parents with children between the ages of 16 and 17.

The most common symptom or behavior noticed by parents was anxiety (68%), which was thought by almost twice as many parents as the next most common reaction – it was depression or a low mood episode in their children (37%).

Read more: The real cost of being born prematurely

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‘Financially underfunded’

Kelly, like many parents, experienced delays after delaying Avella’s treatment.

Bruce Clark, a consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry and specialist in OCD, BDD and related disorders, says he has seen “a huge increase in health presentations psychiatry for services, both in referrals to general services” as well as in emergency crises introduced since the pandemic.

Clinical director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, who works at the South London Mental Health Foundation and Maudsley said while there are charities helping to fill some gaps, the The sector – especially around research – remains “underfunded”.

The London Trust is on track to open a pioneering new mental health center for children and young people, the Maudsley Pears Centre. Part of the new center will involve a medical center, with significant research to improve support for young people.

“There has always been an aspiration to meet 35 per cent of the mental health needs in the community,” said Dr. Clark.

“Well, we’d like to do more than 35%. I’d like to find myself in a situation where the clinical research background is right for a delivery close to 100%.

“You’d never find it acceptable to say that we’re going to treat 35% of the cancer incidence in our society, so it would be great if we couldn’t have thirst. limited expectations on children’s mental health.”

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