Latest news | 25 May 2022

Butterfly enlists QMS to spotlight eating disorders as a mental illness that kills more people than the national road toll


Thursday 26th  MAY 2022

An outdoor media campaign to raise awareness of eating disorders – a mental illness that kills more people than the national road toll – has been launched this week by Butterfly Foundation.


Key campaign statistics:

  • More than a million Australians are suffering with an eating disorder right now
  • Eating disorders kill more people than our national road toll
  • Kids as young as 5 can have an Eating Disorder
  • Eating Disorders cost Australians more than $69 billion every year

The campaign, brought to life by leading digital outdoor media provider QMS, includes confronting statistics about eating disorders, a mental illness that is significantly misunderstood yet has one of the highest mortality rates in Australia.

Butterfly’s QMS digital billboards form part of their ongoing 20th birthday campaign ‘The Next 20,’ launched earlier this month to acknowledge the organisation’s legacy, raise critical funds, and outline its ambitions for the next 20 years of eating disorder prevention and treatment.

Kevin Barrow, CEO, Butterfly Foundation said that with more than a million Australians living with an eating disorder and with many more suffering body image issues, this outdoor campaign is integral to driving awareness and donations.

“Anecdotally speaking, the way we talk about eating disorders is about 10 years behind how we now speak about anxiety and depression. Eating disorders are still misunderstood and grossly under-estimated, with stigma and stereotypes acting as a major barrier to help-seeking.

“We hope that our billboards reach thousands of Australians over the next few weeks and make them pay attention to eating disorders as a serious complex mental illness, rather than a lifestyle choice.

“There is still so much more work that needs to be done in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders but we cannot do it without the support of the broader community.”

With Butterfly reporting a 275% increase in contacts to its national Helpline over the last 5 years and an emergence of more complex cases as a result of the pandemic, the organisation’s campaign is as timely as ever.

Tennille Burt, CMO, QMS said “QMS are extremely proud to make this important campaign a possibility. Digital Out of Home provides the perfect media platform for Butterfly to help generate awareness of eating disorders quickly, and support those who are impacted by them.

“There is still much more community education needed on this mental illness, and we  are confident our network of premium digital billboards will serve as a poweful tool in communicating Butterfly’s message to mass audiences across the country.”

Clare Fargher, Marketing Engagement Manager, Butterfly Foundation said “Butterfly are incredibly thankful for the generosity of QMS, who have donated much of the media space for the campaign. The exposure Butterfly and eating disorders more broadly will gain from this campaign is invaluable.”

Butterfly’s outdoor media campaign will run across select QMS digital sites until 6th June 2022 in all major cities across VIC, NSW, QLD, SA and WA.




Media Contacts

Alex Cowen

Communications Manager

Ph: 0497 008 716




Editor and producers note: Please include the following support line details in all media coverage of this story and refer to the Mindframe Media guidelines for safe reporting on eating disorders. Please include the following helpline message.

About Butterfly

Butterfly Foundation is the national charity for all Australians impacts by eating disorders and body image issues, and for the families, friends and communities who support them. Butterfly operates a National Helpline that supports over 30,000 people each year. We also provide a wide range of individual and group-based programs for people in recovery, carers and family members, while our prevention programs address the modifiable risk factors in the development of body image issues and eating disorders.

Help and Support

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact:

  • Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) chat online or
  • Find useful articles & resources via Butterfly’s COVID Help Hub
  • Find a professional via Butterfly’s Referral Database
  • Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23
  • For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14