Latest news | 29 May 2019

A new era for Tasmania eating disorder services


Butterfly Foundation is taking a whole-of-community approach with the launch of enhanced eating disorder recovery, support and referral services across Tasmania, thanks to $400,000 in funding from the Tasmanian Government.

Butterfly Foundation CEO, Kevin Barrow has applauded the Tasmanian community’s support for a continuum of care for people at risk of, or currently experiencing, an eating disorder.

“Eating disorders can affect people of any age, culture, socio-economic experience or gender,” said Mr Barrow.

“They are often diagnosed in teenagers and young adults, so it makes sense that early intervention and treatment of eating disorders requires a holistic, in-community focused approach.

“Comprehensive eating disorders services in Tassie are much needed, and we’re excited about working on this project to ensure people with this serious mental illness can get the potentially life-saving treatment they need, without having to go interstate.”

This suite of new services and support programs builds on the solid foundations laid by the Tasmanian Recovery from Eating Disorders (TRED) since 2012, and follows the merger of TRED and Butterfly in August 2017.

“Butterfly will continue to support the volunteer delivered community-based support groups that, over the past few years has often been the lifeline for Tasmanians suffering with an eating disorder. With this approach we will be able to provide a continuum of care in community, engaging a peer workforce to support people experiencing eating disorders, their parents and families, teachers, carers and health professionals in Tasmania,” said Mr Barrow.

As well as education workshops for schools and recovery support services, Butterfly will deliver a peer workforce to provide community-based support for people with an eating disorder and their carers and families to achieve and maintain recovery in their own community.

Crucial to these new and expanded services will be Butterfly’s leadership and coordination of referral services locally to help Tasmanians connect to the multi-disciplinary support they need in treatment and recovery through the expertise of the Butterfly 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) National Helpline.

The expansion of services comes ahead of the introduction of a new dedicated eating disorders Medicare Benefits Scheme item number which is set to deliver multi-disciplinary treatment for all severe and complex diagnoses of eating disorders from early November.

The services will be overseen by Butterfly’s newly appointed Eating Disorders Coordinator in Tasmania, Caitlin Walker. Ms Walker’s role is part of a two-year trial to build on existing community-based services, including a peer workforce, funded by the Tasmanian Government, with a view to ultimately roll it out across Tasmania.

Butterfly Foundation National Manager of Prevention Services, Danni Rowlands is excited about the work Butterfly is doing with local schools and said it is a fantastic opportunity for students, parents and professionals in Hobart to get information, practical tools and resources to address this important issue.

With 30 per cent of young Australians having body image concerns[1] and almost one in 10 Australians of all ages affected by an eating disorder[2], Butterfly is addressing the links between mental health, body image and eating disorders with these programs and workshops.

“Eating disorders are present at a much younger age, so it is imperative that we are having conversations in schools about body esteem, while teaching our children media literacy skills to navigate the online world. The more schools we can reach with our education sessions, the closer we are to increasing awareness of body image concerns, reducing stigma and encouraging help-seeking in young people,” said Ms Rowland.

Today’s launch follows new Federal Government funding commitments for those affected by eating disorders in Tasmania. The Federal Government last month announced that Butterfly, in partnership with other sector organisations, will help roll out six new eating disorder treatment centres across Australia, including Hobart, Tasmania. Each residential centre will provide a new model of wrap-around intensive multi-disciplinary treatment, delivered in community and not in a hospital setting.

Tasmanian locals are looking forward to having access to much needed support and education. Rhi, who has recovered from an eating disorder, is among those who welcome the news.

“Access to education in schools, additional support services, and new residential facilities will certainly make the journey to recovery easier for Tasmanians who are living with these severe and complex mental illnesses. I am thrilled that the government has acknowledged the need in this area and to see Butterfly taking this inclusive approach,” said Rhi.


Media Contact: Elaine Banoub  Mob: 0412 237 673


Upcoming education workshops:

–       Tuesday 4 June FREE: For parents and carers from all schools: Body Confident Children and Teens, Ogilvie High School, New Town. With so many confusing messages around weight and health, it can be difficult for parents or carers to know how to support their child as they move through their teenage years.

–       Wednesday 5 June, Body Esteem Educator Training for Teachers & Professionals Working with Young People, $100 (discounted thanks to grant funding). Helps your school or youth organisation put into place prevention and early intervention strategies.

–       Wednesday 5 June, FREE – places limited: Champions for Change student leadership workshop, New Town, brings together small groups of students from local schools in years 6-8 to understand and discuss body esteem and develop a student-led Take Action Plan to address body confidence in their school community.

More information about education workshops.


Upcoming support groups:

Separate support groups for recovering individuals and carers are held in the first and second week of every month.

Recovery Support Group Carer Support Group
(1st Monday of every month) (2nd Tuesday of every month)
03-Jun-19 11-Jun-19
01-Jul-19 09-Jul-19
05-Aug-19 13-Aug-19
02-Sep-19 10-Sep-19
07-Oct-19 08-Oct-19
04-Nov-19 12-Nov-19
02-Dec-19 10-Dec-19

 Upcoming Workshops:

–       Collaborative Care Skills Workshop – A six-week skills workshop for carers and supporters of loved ones with eating disorders. Wednesday evenings, 24 July – 28 August.

For workshop, support group and treatment information, contact Caitlin Walker, Eating Disorders Coordinator – Hobart Email: Ph: 0474004443