Latest news | 26 Nov 2015

Mental health system reform proposal a precondition for treating eating disorders


26 November, 2015 ― Health Minister Sussan Ley’s announcement of a mental health reform package is a necessary step for proper treatment of approximately 1 million Australian’s currently suffering from an eating disorder.

Shifting from crisis and acute care to community-based services, primary health care, prevention and early intervention are all positive initiatives. Critically, implementation must be decisive and in line with these principles.

Butterfly Foundation Chair David Murray AO said “If properly implemented, the new approach should bring significant changes to the way every Australian living with an eating disorder receives support and treatment.

“As Australia’s peak organisation for sufferers and carers affected by eating disorders, the Butterfly Foundation believes this reform recognises that the person with the illness must be at the centre of all treatment. Eating disorders are very complex conditions with the highest suicide rate of any mental illness. They require carefully coordinated and consistent care which today’s announcement recognises.

“This overhaul of Australia’s mental health system includes a commitment to direct funding through Primary Health Networks, favouring a regionalised approach to meet local needs. As quantified in Butterfly’s “Investing In Need” report, every dollar invested in early identification and proper treatment of an eating disorder delivers over five dollars in benefits. The economic and social rationale for individual care is compelling” says David Murray AO.

Butterfly is committed to working with the Government to help implement these reforms to ensure any Australian with an eating disorder has access to affordable, individual and sustained treatment. “Today’s announcement lays the groundwork for significant partnerships between government and non-government organisations like Butterfly to deliver interconnected services and support to all Australians,” says David Murray AO.

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact Butterfly’s National Support Line on 1800 33 4673 or

Investing in Need Report can be accessed at

Media enquiries: Jenny Muir 0415 401 200 or