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Highgate public school girls’ fight against anorexia reaches Parliament

Sophia Parvizi Wayne and Amber Van Dam campaign for mental health classes to be made compulsory in all schools. Picture: Polly Hancock Sophia Parvizi Wayne and Amber Van Dam campaign for mental health classes to be made compulsory in all schools. Picture: Polly Hancock

Monday, March 3, 2014
11:59 AM

Two public schoolgirls who launched a campaign to tackle an anorexia epidemic among teenagers have seen their battle reach parliament.

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Sophia Parvisi Wayne’s and Amber Van Dam’s efforts to combat eating disorders by calling for awareness classes to become part of the school curriculum will be discussed with MPs in the coming weeks.

High profile supporters for the 16-year-old Highgate School pupils’ campaign, first made public by the Ham&High in January, include Labour’s ex-spin doctor Alastair Campbell.

After persuading their own school to host a Mental Health Awareness Week, the pair told the Ham&High they hoped to speak to around 500 schools across the country to see if they would also get involved - and have already spoken with secretary of state for education Michael Gove about the initiative.

They have been invited to Parliament to meet with Charles Walker MP - former chair of the Mental Health All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) - and James Morris MP, the APPG’s current chair.

Sophia and Amber have seen first-hand the effects of anorexia and hope highlighting the issue in schools will make both pupils and teachers become more aware of how to deal with the issue.

The pair’s petition to the Department of Education calling for action has so far received more than 2,500 signatures.

If you would like to support Sophia and Amber’s campaign, the petition can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59244

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