Laying the Groundwork for Eating Disorders System Reform in Australia
While acknowledging funding provided in this year’s Federal Budget, members of the Eating Disorder Alliance of Australia (EDAA) have called on the Federal Government to involve EDAA members in the system reform process.
Sydney, Australia – 23rd May 2023
In February, Minister for Health, the Hon Mark Butler MP, called out eating disorders as “a national crisis” on the ABC 4 Corners program. While the recently announced Federal Budget does go some way to address the crisis, EDAA, representing the voice of lived experience and health professionals within the eating disorder sector in Australia, says more is needed.
Members of the Eating Disorder Alliance of Australia (EDAA) include Butterfly Foundation (Butterfly), Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA), Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV), Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ), and the Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED). EDAA is pleased to acknowledge the following 12-month funding commitments:
- $1.25m for Wandi Nerida, Australia’s only residential treatment centre for eating disorders, managed by Butterfly
- $800k for the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC), to develop clinical resources, support workforce development, and continue work on the National Eating Disorders Strategy, administered by Butterfly
- $150k for Eating Disorders Families Australia, supporting their National Support and Education programs for families and carers of those with eating disorders
- $450k for ANZAED, to continue to expand connect•ed, ANZAEDs Eating Disorder Credential, ,to include GPs
- $100k contribution towards Butterfly Body Bright (BBB) – a whole of school Primary School program promoting positive body image. BBB is already being accessed by more than 400 Australian primary schools across Australia, and includes tools and resources to build and maintain positive body image, prevent body dissatisfaction, and reduce appearance pressures – known risk factors for developing eating disorders. Butterfly’s 17 years working in prevention and early intervention also includes Body Kind Schools, Body Kind Families, Body Kind Clubs, and more, supporting educators, communities and parents to foster positive body image in young people.
More broadly, EDAA welcomes the focus on primary health care, including incentivising GPs to bulk bill, the inclusion of case conferencing as part of the Eating Disorder Management Plan under Medicare and investment in the mental health workforce, including additional postgraduate psychology places. We also welcome cost-of-living support to reduce financial distress, noting the association between food insecurity and eating disorder pathology.
We acknowledge that this budget around Mental Health and suicide prevention is laying the ground work for system reform. EDAA is supportive of the government’s considered approach to meaningful change to the system of care. In line with The Productivity Report ‘s recommendations, EDAA can play a role in consultation and advocacy drawing on the voice of lived experience and informed by the unique role community organisations play in eating disorder treatment and supports.
Some of the key reform actions, we see as a priority would be:
- Eating Disorders Prevention Initiatives With more than a million people -impacted by eating disorders in Australia in any given year, and only one quarter of these getting treatment or support, much more needs to be done to address this national crisis.
- Eating Disorders Lived Experience Workforce developmental resources.
- Ensuring that consumers and cares impacted by eating disorders also have access to a whole range of psychosocial supports.
With a sector-wide National Eating Disorders Strategy 2023-2033 due for release later in 2023, EDAA looks forward to a future funding package commensurate with the goals of the strategy and with timely implementation, in line with community need. EDAA member organisations will continue to collaborate to maximise our impact in preventing, identifying, supporting and providing treatment options to those with a lived or living experience of an eating disorder or body image issue and their carers, families and supports.
Anna Cullinane, Interim CEO, Butterfly
Belinda Caldwell, CEO, Eating Disorders Victoria
Belinda Chelius, CEO, Eating Disorders Queensland
Jane Rowan, Executive Director, Eating Disorders Families Australia
Jade Gooding, CEO, Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders
Harriet Potter, Communications Manager, Butterfly Foundation, 0497 008 716, email@example.com
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 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 236
- For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14