Latest news | 15 Jun 2017

A ‘do no harm’ approach to student assignments on eating disorders


Butterfly Education receives many requests for help with student assignments on eating disorders.

Student assignments are a fantastic way to raise awareness and increase understanding of the complexity of eating disorders and mental illness. However, detailed research into the symptoms and behaviours associated with eating disorders can be harmful to students.

Support on setting safe parameters for student assignments and communicating appropriately about eating disorders can be found in the National Eating Disorders Collaboration’s Eating Disorders in Schools: Prevention, Early Identification and Response.

We encourage student assignments to focus on:

  • dispelling myths and misconceptions
  • emphasising the severity of eating disorders as serious mental health conditions
  • explaining the modifiable risk and protective factors
  • promoting understanding and acceptance of people experiencing eating disorders
  • exploring the range of support services
  • encouraging, normalising and promoting helping seeking behaviours

For the safety of all students, we do not recommend assignments which focus on symptoms and behaviours, case studies, interviewing people with eating disorders or those in recovery, or which make specific reference to measurements or volumes.

For more information about student assignments and our upcoming education workshops, please visit Butterfly Education.