Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect almost one million Australians. It is essential that the reporting of eating disorders is dealt with sensitively using a ‘do no harm’ approach.
We encourage all media to refer to the Mindframe Guidelines on reporting of eating disorders when working on stories that contain information about help for eating disorders, people who have an eating disorder, or people who are at risk of an eating disorder.
Butterfly knows from experience that calls to their national support line and other helplines are directly related to media coverage and we would implore all journalists to act sensibly by including support information in stories about eating disorders. It is important that affected people are able to seek professional assistance immediately.
We recommend using the following wording to accompany all media coverage of eating disorders and negative body image:
“If you need help or support for an eating disorder or body image issue, please call Butterfly’s National Helpline on 1800 334 673 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org”
Butterfly was instrumental in supporting the development of the Australian Government’s National Body Image Guidelines. We recommend that all media refer to these guidelines when developing stories or creating marketing and promotional campaigns.