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By Tom Kelly for the Daily Mail
- Rosie Whitaker was hit by the train close to her home in Beckenham
- Teenager had performed at the Royal Opera House and was a ‘perfectionist’
- Stress of GCSEs ‘thought to have contributed to her eating disorder’
A girl of 15 killed herself by lying in front of a train after visiting websites which promote self-harm and suicide, an inquest heard yesterday.
Rosie Whitaker, a talented ballet dancer who had performed at the Royal Opera House, suffered from bulimia. The inquest was told she had been a happy girl leading a full and normal life until the beginning of the year.
She had become stressed by the ten GCSEs she was taking which exacerbated her eating disorder.
She had admitted to her mother that she had self-harmed and had visited self-harming websites before her death in June close to her home in Beckenham, south-east London.
Campaigners are calling for the Government to act to prevent the vulnerable being influenced by such websites after a second 15-year-old girl died in similar circumstances last month.
Tallulah Wilson, who had said she was a friend of Rosie’s, was hit by a train at St Pancras station in London after visiting a website about self-harm and anorexia.
Rosie’s mother, Vanja Whitaker, said in a statement read to her inquest in Croydon: ‘She was a perfectionist, very particular about her school work. Rosie made those around her laugh. She didn’t judge anybody.
‘She cared for people, and was leaning towards a career as a social worker or in psychology.’
She said her daughter had been referred to the adolescent specialist anorexia unit at King’s College Hospital in south London. She said: ‘She was treated for her eating disorder, but I thought that rather missed the point. She was still self-harming.
Train driver Andrew Pagram said he saw a shadow drop on to the tracks but thought it was a plastic bag or a piece of discarded advertising, so did not immediately brake.
‘She was two to three seconds away. I broke as soon as I realised what had happened’.
Rosie’s dancing achievements had included performing at London’s prestigious Royal Opera House
After her death, Rosie’s family said in a statement in June: It appears she was, unfortunately, heavily influenced by websites and online communities promoting self-harm and suicide.
‘We hope her tragic death serves as a warning to other impressionable youngsters and their parents that such sites pose grave risks.’
Coroner Dr Roy Palmer recorded a verdict of suicide.
To view complete NHS information on anorexia treatment click here
[Note: In the U.K., the NHS treatment for anorexia includes a number of therapies, in addition to medication (either an SSRI or olanzapine)]
NHS CHOICES: Your health, your choices
Anorexia nervosa – Treatment
The treatment for anorexia nervosa usually involves a combination of psychological therapy and supervised weight gain.
It’s important for a person with anorexia to start treatment as early as possible to reduce the risk of serious complications of anorexia, particularly if they’ve already lost a lot of weight.
The treatment plan
GPs are often closely involved in ongoing treatment, although other healthcare professionals are usually involved, including:
A number of different psychological treatments can be used to treat anorexia. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment will last for at least 6 to 12 months or more.
Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)…
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)…
Focal psychodynamic therapy (FPT)…
Gaining weight safely
The care plan will include advice about how to increase the amount eaten so weight is gained safely…
Medication alone isn’t usually effective in treating anorexia. It’s often only used in combination with the measures mentioned above to treat associated psychological problems, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or depression.
The two main types of medication used to treat people with anorexia are:
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – a type of antidepressant medication that can help people with co-existing psychological problems such as depression and anxiety
- olanzapine – a medication that can help reduce feelings of anxiety related to issues such as weight and diet in people who haven’t responded to other treatments
SSRIs tend to be avoided until a person with anorexia has started to gain weight because the risk of more serious side effects is increased in people who are severely underweight. The drugs are only used cautiously in young people under the age of 18.