Hi! I’m Bex, thank you for visiting. I have suffered with an eating disorder for over 15 years. I am now in recovery & am passionate about raising awareness & understanding of mental health & eating disorders.
My Lived Experiences
My eating disorder started when I was 14. I was a competitive track and field athlete & it was my dream to run for Great Britain. I was convinced that if I lost weight I would run faster. I went to Loughborough University, aged 19, to pursue my dream of becoming a professional athlete. But anorexia took control. Within eight months, I was admitted to an eating disorder unit.
I spent the next three years (between 2008-2011) as a revolving door patient. In those three years, I had three admissions to eating disorder units. Two admissions lasted for a year and one for six months. I was sectioned & tube fed in each admission. Once discharged, within four months I would relapse & be readmitted. But since my discharge in 2011 I have fought to stay well.
I was discharged in 2011 under a Community Treatment Order (CTO). This helped save my life. It outlined a weight that I could not go below which provided me with the motivation I needed to maintain my weight. It broke the revolving door cycle. The longer I stayed out of hospital, the more I realised that there was more to life than my eating disorder. I started on the journey of recovery & built my life. I went on to complete my degree, work full time as a cook for two & a half years, & complete a Masters.
What I Do Now
I am determined to use my experiences to help others & improve treatment, education & understanding of eating disorders.
I am the Patient & Public Voice (PPV) for Eating Disorders for NHS England. In this role, I represent eating disorder patient views to help develop eating disorder services in the NHS.
I am a campaign volunteer for the eating disorder charity Beat & have acted as an Expert by Experience in a range of settings. This includes being an advisor on a PhD study into eating disorders and CTOs. Through my work with Beat, I have attended Parliament to contribute to round table discussions and lobby days, and have met with MPs to discuss eating disorder services.
I deliver talks & workshops on eating disorders, mental health, & my story to university students, schools, athletics clubs, the NHS, & businesses.
I am also a Time To Change Champion for the Charity Time to Change, & a media volunteer for a range of mental health charities.
I am currently building my own campaign into CTOs & have had discussions with MPs, CCGs, Psychiatrists, Nurses and members of the House of Lords…Watch this space!
*For Qualifications & Training, please see below Feedback & Reviews*
What do I offer?
I can deliver a wide variety of talks, workshops & training on eating disorders & mental health.
*All sessions can be delivered remotely. For Qualifications & Training, please see below Feedback & Reviews*
I share my story of how I developed an eating disorder, the treatment I received & my recovery journey. I discuss treatment approaches that have and have not helped me. I explain what it is like living with an eating disorder so that the student’s can gain an in depth understanding. An interactive session is also provided which focuses on the signs & symptoms of eating disorders, statistics, myths & long term effects.
Students will leave the session with an in depth knowledge of eating disorders, good practice, & how to support those with eating disorders.
These sessions can be adapted for a range of subjects including nursing, psychology & medicine. Typical sessions run from 30 minutes to two hours, & content & length can be adapted depending on your needs.
Workshops on eating disorders, mental health & how to spot the signs. These workshops will open up the conversation about mental health so that students can build their confidence to talk about their mental health. It will also help students develop their skills to manage their mental health and how they can support others.
Sessions are also provided for parents/carers in which I share my story & the role of my parents. The sessions will help parents learn how to spot the signs & symptoms eating disorders & mental health issues, along with how they can best support their child & where to go to for help.
Talks & sessions to NHS staff & hospitals can be delivered to a range of healthcare workers including HCAs, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, & community teams. I share my own personal story & what has/hasn’t helped whilst being treated in hospitals & in the community.
I explain my experiences of being treated under the Mental Health Act. This includes my experiences of being involved in decision making processes whilst under section.
My role as PPV for eating disorders within the NHS is also discussed & how important it is to use patient experiences to improve practice.
I share my story of how trying to lose weight in order to become a better athlete resulted in me developing a severe eating disorder and ruined my dreams. I combine my own personal story along with my knowledge as a sport scientist to educate coaches & athletes around weight, training & performance. In sharing my story, I inspire coaches and athletes to pursue their goals in a healthy manner.
Issues around under-fuelling, REDS, & eating disorders in sport are discussed along with signs & symptoms of eating disorders in athletes. As such, coaches & athletes will develop the skills in how to spot eating disorders & how to help. Coaches, athletes & parents will leave the sessions with the knowledge of how important it is to have a healthy, well fuelled body for optimum performance & feeling inspired to achieve their athletic dreams. A handy resource is provided.
I share my eating disorder story & recovery and, in doing so, raise awareness & understanding of eating disorders & mental health issues. I cover what it is like working when you have a mental illness, how to spot the signs, & how to best support those with mental health problems.
Would you like me to deliver one of these sessions? I would love the opportunity to continue to share my experiences & raise awareness & understanding of eating disorders & mental health. If you are interested, please get in touch using the Contact Me form or email me at [email protected]
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Feedback & Reviews
What are people saying about Rebecca Quinlan sharing her experiences & knowledge of eating disorders & mental health?
“The session was really interesting & it was so brave of Rebecca to speak about her experience of living with an eating disorder & hearing it first hand. I think lots of students could really benefit from a session like this & feel it was very helpful in understanding what we need to ensure we do as students going onto the wards & being in contact with patient’s with eating disorders.”
University of Northampton
“Another enlightening video. I have never had an eating disorder but you are a testament to people looking to recover from mental illness & eating issues. “
Immersive Sports Science
“A very interesting & informative talk. Thank you Rebecca for opening us all up to the dreadful consequences of eating disorders.”
General Practice Nurse
Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Qualifications & Training
- BSc Sport & Exercise Science (1st Class Honours) – Loughborough University
- MSc Applied Sport & Exercise Physiology (Distinction) – St Mary’s University
- Level 3 Personal Trainer
- British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences Supervised Sport Scientist
- The FA Level 1 coaching qualification
- The FA Level 1 First Aid in Football qualification
- The FA Safeguarding Children qualification
The Influence of Tart Cherry Juice in Aiding Recovery after Intermittent Exercise (Oct 2019) – The International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.
- Mental Health Awareness Qualification
- DBS Certified
Conferences & Training
- Beat – Treatment Models that Empower Families (2020)
- Royal College of Psychiatrists Eating Disorder Conference (2019)
- Beat – Eating Disorder Transitions (2019)
- Abstract accepted to present at Beat’s International Conference (2020)