Mark Austin with daughter Maddy photographed at a film screening in 2009 Mark Austin, the broadcaster, has told how he struggled to cope with his daughter’s anorexia, once telling her in frustration: “If you really want to starve yourself to death, just get on with it.”Austin, the former ITV News at Ten anchor, said he had made the wrong decision in trying to tackle his 18-year-old daughter’s illness, telling her she was “ being ridiculous” and must “get a grip”.Saying he had felt “excluded and hated” by Maddy and “floundered” as she became increasingly unwell, he said: “What I failed utterly to grasp was that she was seriously mentally ill and could not see a future for herself.”He today published a joint article with his daughter laying bare the details of her anorexia, in a bid to raise awareness about the eating disorder and improve mental health provision. “I decided to go on the attack.“I told her she was being ridiculous. I told her to get a grip and grow up, to ‘just bloody well eat, for Christ’s sake’.“I drew a parallel to the appalling plight of family friends whose young daughter passed away from leukaemia. ‘She was desperate to live, but despite all the medical help available, she couldn’t. That is a tragedy. But you are doing it to yourself.’ Describing her return to health after a battle with depression, Austin said: “I have hated writing this, and I thought a thousand times about not doing it.“But my hope is that maybe, just maybe, people will read it and say, yes, as a country we should take mental health seriously.“Not to do so would be an unforgivable betrayal of some of the most vulnerable in our society.”Maddy added: “I was lucky, but mental-health treatment should not be a lottery. The kind of unit that eventually helped me is all too rare.“I feel desperately that things need to change and now is the time for action. Otherwise it will be too late.”Maddy is now running the London Marathon in aid of children’s mental-health charity Place2Be, part of Heads Together, a campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Austin with Theresa and Philip May and Carol Vorderman at a Prince’s Trust reception I told her to get a grip and grow up, to ‘just bloody well eat, for Christ’s sake’.Mark Austin Maddy, who is now 22 and described by her father as “much improved”, healthy and returned to university, told the Sunday Times magazine: “If I close my eyes, I can take myself back to the moment I heard my dad shout at me to ‘get on with’ starving myself to death, as I lay by the oven, desperately clutching two hot water bottles.” “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.“What I failed utterly to grasp was that she was seriously mentally ill and could not see a future for herself.”Eventually, after failed treatments elsewhere, Maddy was offered a place on the NHS at a Farnham Hospital day patient unit, where she undertook therapy and spent a year in recovery. I was lucky, but mental-health treatment should not be a lotteryMaddy Austin Austin at work in 2011 Austin described how his teenage daughter went from a healthy weight to 5 1/2 stone, skipping meals and counting calories while he was working in America in 2012.As he and her mother, an A&E doctor, tried to help, he said, she became “painfully thin, constantly pale and so cold all the time”, as they believed they were watching her “slowly die”.“As a father you have to make a decision and I made the wrong one,” Austin wrote. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.