A young victim of alopecia has teamed up with a national charity to show the effects the condition has had on her life.
Harrogate’s Emma Nelson, 23 has teamed up with UK charity, Fixers, to make a short film demonstrating the effect of alopecia on someone’s life.
Diagnosed aged 12, Emma was told her hair would never grow back and has spoken out about the decline in her mental health in the following years.
Emma said: “I want to fit in and be a normal person, not someone defined by alopecia, but the effect on my life of living with alopecia is huge.
“I feel that we’re pushed to the back of the shelf and forgotten about.
Emma explains that living with alopecia can come with a significant financial toll, and her short clip highlights the costs associated with buying, maintaining, and replacing wigs.
“I’ve had to save up thousands of pounds over quite a short space of time in order to get the wig that I feel comfortable wearing.”
“Looking back if I’d had someone to talk to, if I’d been signposted to a counsellor to offload onto about how I was feeling, I think that would have really helped me.
“It’s really surprising that there’s no psychological support around the diagnosis.
“The attitude from medical professionals seems to just be “it’s only hair loss, you can get on with it, hide it.
“We’re just told basically to get on with our lives without hair.”
Amy Johnson from Alopecia UK is supporting Emma’s campaign and reinforced how ‘devastating’ the condition can be.
She said: “Many people with alopecia have anxiety issues. We have some people who get in touch with the charity who struggle to leave the house or who struggle going to work and it really can have a devastating impact.
“Some doctors understand the psychological impact of hair loss, but for many they still just view alopecia as being a cosmetic thing.
“Although it’s not life threatening, it is life changing, and so there definitely needs to be far more support given at that point of diagnosis.
“I don’t want people with alopecia to feel forgotten.”
You can watch Emma’s short film by visiting the Fixers webiste - www.fixers.org.uk and searching for ‘Emma Nelson’.