Latest news | 04 Sep 2014

Australian Parliament takes a significant step forward in tackling the impact of Eating Disorders


Australian Parliament takes a significant step forward in tackling the impact of Eating Disorders
Federal Parliament has resolutely moved forward in addressing the devastating impact and needs of eating disorders, collectively backing Senator Penny Wright’s motion recognising the significant socio-economic costs and the need to prioritise these deadly mental illnesses as an urgent health issue.

The Senate motion emerged from The Butterfly Foundation’s National Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week kick off at the Australian Parliament House, which gave all parliamentarians an opportunity to hear from the sector’s leading experts and people with a lived experience of eating disorders.

The Butterfly Foundation CEO, Christine Morgan, said that the members of parliament and their staff showed genuine concern and compassion, with particular thanks and recognition due to the Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health – Sen Penny Wright, Mr Dan Tehan, Ms Cathy McGowan AO and Mr Andrew Giles.

“The town hall meeting discussed the need for federal and state governments to act quickly to provide the necessary services and support, for the hundreds of thousands of people across Australia living with an eating disorder.

“The meeting heard a clear message about the urgent need for adequate government funding for treatment facilities, including greater support for community-based treatment options,” said Ms Morgan.

The Parliament House event also served as the launch for the Butterfly’s Love Your Body campaign, encouraging all Australians to pledge to learn how to love their bodies – to help build resilience and a positive body image.

“Learning how to love your body is a about understanding both your body and mind, and what they need to be at their best. It is about feeling good in your own skin, rather than trying to conform to an unrealistic idealised body image.

Ms Morgan said that negative body image is an established pre-cursor to an eating disorder and the number of Australians who live with negative feelings about their bodies and their lives is rapidly increasing.

With more than 650 pledges submitted already, Butterfly invites all Australian to take the pledge, and encourage their community to do the same.

Anyone needing support with body image or eating disorders is encouraged to contact the Butterfly National Eating Disorders Support-line on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE).

Media enquiries: Elaine Banoub, 0412 237 673 / 02 9212 3888


That the Senate—
(a) recognises that 1 September to 7 September 2014 is National Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week;
(b) notes that in 2012 there were more than 913 000 people in Australia living with a clinical eating disorder, and that more than 1 800 people die each year because of these deadly mental illnesses;
(c) recognises the significant social and economic costs of eating disorders and the strength and contribution of those who care for people experiencing eating disorders; and
(d) calls on the Federal Government to take a lead in prioritising eating disorders as an urgent mainstream health issue in Australia, and to work with all state and territory governments to:
(i) support the development and education of a health workforce proportional to the need, which is able to identify and treat eating disorders,
(ii) fund integrated treatment facilities and programs in hospitals and the community, with appropriate specialist care,
(iii) ensure an appropriate proportion of the health budget is available for the development and establishment of community-based recovery support and prevention services, and
(iv) provide funding and support for the necessary education and prevention programs for young people.