Latest news | 02 Jun 2022

Butterfly joins global effort to support carers on World Eating Disorders Action Day this year


With some eating disorder presentations increasing by 63% as a result of the pandemic, carers are facing stress, anguish and burnout like never before. 

Today, World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD), Butterfly is joining 250 organisations from 50 countries around the world to raise awareness of the impact of eating disorders that currently affects over one million Australians and an estimated 70 million people worldwide.  

Eating disorders impact more than just the individual. They are felt by the entire family and their support networks, including parents, siblings, friends and other relatives and loved ones. While families and carers can play a crucial role in the care, support and recovery of people living with an eating disorder, it  may cause the carer to experience feelings of burnout, anguish, distress, guilt, anxiety, uncertainty, and hopelessness.  

Recent Butterfly research identified that the greatest issues related to being a carer included impacts on the individual’s mental health (83%), their sleep (76%), their relationships (76%) and their social life (71%), with 78% of carers delaying or leaving their career or study to provide the level of support needed.

Joyce Tam, Butterfly’s National Helpline Manager, said carers often express guilt for being worried about their own health, with 68% of surveyed carers saying they didn’t seek help for their own psychological issues due to prioritising the person they are caring for. 

 “Since our Helpline’s inception in 2010, , we’ve received thousands of calls from concerned, tired and worried carers who are supporting a family member or loved one with an eating disorder. 

 “COVID was the perfect storm for eating disorders to develop and thrive, placing further stress and isolation on carers. 

“Now more than ever, we  need to ensure anyone with an eating disorder, including those who care for them, can easily access our resources and professional support whenever they are in need. Carers need care too.”,  

WEDAD is an internationally renowned annual grassroots movement that is designed by and for people affected by an eating disorder, their families, carers, and the medical and professional health community who support them. This year’s focus, ‘Caring for Carers’, seeks to highlight just how critical their role is in the care, support and recovery for people living with an eating disorder.  

Butterfly provides extensive resources and support for carers of loved ones with an eating disorder., including: 

Other resources from the sector include: 

But we need more. Matthew,  who cared for his daughter while she experienced an eating disorder, believes further education and support is drastically needed so carers can understand the signs of an eating disorder and intervene early, before the mental illness becomes entrenched.  

“In the future, I’d like to see parents educated on the warning signs, and how to deal with the eating disorder as quickly as possible, to prevent the illness getting hold of your child. Because once it does, it’s a very long journey back”, said Matthew.  

Carers are encouraged to connect with Butterfly’s National Helpline for advice, information and support. For eating disorder warning signs and symptoms, visit Butterfly’s website.  

#Care4U #WorldEDday2022 #WEDAD2022 #Care4carers  


Media Contact 

Alex Cowen, Communications Manager 

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. 

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) or   
  • Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23 
  • For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14 

Our Helpline is a free, safe, and confidential service providing counselling, support groups, information, and referrals to health professionals around Australia screened for an understanding of eating disorders. All Butterfly National Helpline counsellors are qualified mental health professionals with specialist training in eating disorders and body image.