The news of a coroner finding out the Alana Goldsmith, a New South Wales resident, killed herself because of anorexia shocks us all. On July 22, 2011, almost three years ago, twenty three-year old Alana killed herself at the Summer Hill railway station after undergoing treatment at a private hospital.
Magistrate Douglass foung that Alana took her own life while suffering from anorexia nervosa. This was announced on July 15 at the Glebe Coroner's Court. Her sister, Simone Goldsmith remembers her as "a fun-loving vivacious and intelligent young woman, until anorexia nervosa starved her brain and destroyed her hopes and dreams".
Christine Morgan, from the Butterfly Foundation, said, "It's crucial that we realise that this is an illness that kills. It has the highest fatality rate of mental illness and we cannot ignore that. A person with anorexia nervosa was 32 times more likely to take their own life than someone who does not have the illness."
She continued that the coronial finding was significant because it "couples together the fact that the suicide risk is significantly heightened for somebody who is suffering from anorexia nervosa" and that it is not a lifestyle choice but a very serious mental illness. She explained that there was a need to recognise eating disorders in Australia and that specialised treatment should be made available to the people.
Simone Goldsmith said, "For the last three years our hearts have been heavy without Alana enriching our lives. We have been on a traumatic rollercoaster of desperate grief, emptiness and seething rage. I hope the inquest will "bring about meaningful discussions amongst our health policymakers and lead to decisions that result in more resources and better care for the epidemic [of eating disorders] facing Australia".
Mr. Douglas described Alana's case as "complex and harrowing with many difficulties." The coroner acknowledged Alana's family wanted her death to be reported to raise awareness of anorexia.
Ms Morgan said, "In 2012 an estimated 914,000 Australians suffered an eating disorder and 1,800 of them died a premature death as a result of the disorder."