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ITV newsreader Mark Austin discusses anorexic daughter's eating disorder

Sharnaz Shahid

Former ITV newsreader Mark Austin has spoken candidly about the struggles he faced when his daughter battled with anorexia. The respected broadcaster explained how he once told his daughter Maddy to "starve to death" after failing to come to terms with her eating disorder. Writing for The Sunday Times Magazine, he recalled: "I even remember saying, 'If you really want to starve yourself to death, just get on with it.' And at least once, exasperated and at a loss, I think I actually meant it."

Mark, 58, revealed how he failed to understand the cause of the illness, describing it as "insensitive and pathetic". He added: "I thought it was crass, insensitive, selfish and pathetic. She would lie about how much she had eaten and then explode with rage if we challenged her." His daughter, who is now 22, became ill in 2012 - she lost four stone but is now on the road to recovery.

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Mark Austin has opened up about his experience with his daughter's eating disorder

Last year, Mark discussed his daughter's eating disorder during a radio interview on BBC Radio 4's The World At One. "She was basically shrinking away before our eyes," he admitted. "She was there, but she was gone and it all happened very quickly. We thought we were losing her so we tried to get help, but there wasn’t really the help there." The former news anchor went on to confess how he found it difficult to find the right healthcare to support Maddy, claiming mental health is underfunded in the NHS. He continued: "We are heading towards an epidemic in mental health and there are not the resources there to deal with it."

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Mark said 'I thought it was crass, insensitive, selfish and pathetic' before understanding his daughter's anorexia

See Duchess Kate talk about children's mental health

Maddy, who is now gearing up to run the London Marathon in support of the Duchess of Cambridge's mental health charity Place2Be, wrote about her experience with the illness in her blog. "No, I may never be able to talk completely openly about my life without a huge amount of discomfort, and maybe I will always have that lingering fear of falling in the back of my mind," she wrote. "But there is no reason why I should let that stop me from feeling enjoyment, happiness, and life. There is no quick fix to stopping your past defining you but every year I’m further away from hell than I once was."