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Norwich schoolgirls launch Make-a-Wish style charity for youngsters with mental ill health

Charlotte Fuller, left, and friend Maria Hardcastle. Photo: Marie Fuller

Charlotte Fuller, left, and friend Maria Hardcastle. Photo: Marie Fuller

Marie Fuller

A year ago Charlotte Fuller, then just 12, was seriously underweight.

Charlotte Fuller, left, and friend Maria Hardcastle. Photo: Marie FullerCharlotte Fuller, left, and friend Maria Hardcastle. Photo: Marie Fuller

The Norwich schoolgirl had not eaten for three months, was not changing her clothes, washing, or able to use the toilet.

She was sleeping on the kitchen work surface and not going to school.

Charlotte, who suffers with depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) was so ill she was admitted to the Priory clinic in London.

She was the youngest on the ward by far, and although she improved greatly in the seven months she spent under NHS care, it was a tough time for her and her family.

Charlotte Fuller (right) and Maria Hardcastle with ITV's Sean Fletcher. Photo: Marie FullerCharlotte Fuller (right) and Maria Hardcastle with ITV's Sean Fletcher. Photo: Marie Fuller

So when she was discharged earlier this year the youngster was determined to help other children get the support they need.

And Charlotte teamed up with her friend Maria Hardcastle - who supported her while she was ill - to launch Mental Help.

As well as offering advice and support Charlotte and Maria also want to help grant wishes for children with severe and life limiting mental health conditions.

And already they are working on helping a 14-year-old boy, who has severe OCD, whose wish is to take a helicopter ride around Wales.

Charlotte Fuller. Photo: Marie FullerCharlotte Fuller. Photo: Marie Fuller

Charlotte said: “I don’t want any other child to go through what I went through – I nearly died.”

To promote their venture, the pair teamed up with Twinset Productions to create a short film called Take Two.

The girls star in the film and it was designed to raise awareness of serious mental illness and the launch their charity.

Charlotte added: “I hope the film attracts attention and creates awareness of just how awful OCD is and that it is not just lining up pencils. We also want to focus on how debilitating all mental illness can be.”

ITV's Sean Fletcher. Photo: Marie FullerITV's Sean Fletcher. Photo: Marie Fuller

She said: “Maria and I also want to help grant wishes to make life more bearable and have something positive to look forward to.”

In the film the pair say this could be anything, they said: “It’s riding a giraffe or meeting your idol.”

The film was premiered at a cinema in west London on July 3 to more than 70 people and was accompanied by a question and answer session hosted by ITV’s Sean Fletcher. The panel included specialist clinicians and representatives from OCD Action and Young Minds.

• To find out more, visit www.mentalhelp.org.uk

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