Should teachers be trained to spot ED symptoms in kids? Can a mental health focus be the primary step when it comes to treating eating disorder? Why is teaching kids emotional literacy so important? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about lessons from recovery and teaching others in recovery and beyond with Florence Taglight.


Florence Taglight is a mental health activist and primary school teacher who recovered from anorexia. She is committed to ensuring mental health is taught to children with as much emphasis as other subjects. Florence is curating a training program for teachers and other school adults to learn about eating disorder signs, symptoms, and importantly, prevention and early intervention.

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FREEBIES: Florence runs free training on eating disorders facts, myths, and signs for schools and other workplaces to help them become informed about the people around them. To book or enquire please email or DM her.


  • Florence’s experience with ED
  • Training that incorporates mental health
  • Mental health first

Florence’s experience with ED

During high school, Florence had no prior issues with food or body image. She was a school athlete and enjoyed her activities wholeheartedly.
It wasn’t until I was finishing up school that everything kind of [started] … the anorexia, and exercise addiction all came into play. (Florence Taglight)
At the time of this change and the start of Florence’s eating disorder, she moved to America for university and ended a romantic relationship that had been going on for six and a half years.
There were a lot of changes [that I went through, and] that I didn’t know how to express that I wasn’t as confident as I seemed about them. (Florence Taglight)

Training that incorporates mental health

Now, in her recovery era and with the experience and wisdom that she has gained, Florence is working to create educational training programs that incorporate mental health.
I’m not asking for them to train teachers to be therapists, I’m asking them to train teachers to know the signs that you can look out for, the warning signs, and the next steps. (Florence Taglight)
In her past as a teacher herself, Florence – due to her experience with ED – noticed some warning signs in a child but was not able to take it further because it wasn’t her “place” to do so as the teacher.
If teachers aren’t trained to spot it, they’re not going to and [for] those with eating disorders, early intervention is key … it is the thing that is going to save that person or that child’s life, and I think that parents aren’t often aware of it either. (Florence Taglight)
It is important for communication to be available and open between parents and teachers because the kids are with the teachers for many hours each day, and they can notice changes in behavior.

Mental health first

Many medical interventions focus on the weight and the numbers first before any attention is given to the patient’s mental health. In many cases when it comes to eating disorders, the disorder came to be due to a difficult or strained mental health state due to painful trauma, sudden strong change, or tumultuous and unresolved emotions. Therefore, resolving physical ailments is only half the battle. The focus needs to be put on the mental health aspect as well.
I’m concerned about the mental health of our people, as opposed to what they look like, and weight-shaming them. (Florence Taglight)
For kids, emotional literacy is important to cultivate, especially from a young age, because many emotional outbursts can come from kids not knowing how to explain what they feel or to even label it.



  I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "Hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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