Latest news | 27 Jun 2016

PM’s Mental Health Commitment Gives Hope To People With Eating Disorders


Today’s $192 million suicide prevention announcement by the Prime Minister is an investment in the mental health and recovery of one million Australians with an eating disorder.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with research indicating that a third of young girls with Anorexia Nervosa have thought about suicide and 8 per cent attempted it, while half of those with Bulimia Nervosa have thought about it and more than a third attempted it.

The 12 regionalised suicide prevention trial sites announced today form an important part of the answer to addressing these staggering rates, as they will help identify, reduce and prevent self-harm and suicide ideation.

The Butterfly Foundation applauds the Prime Minister for underpinning the Digital Mental Health Gateway project with a further investment of $40 million in an intuitive digital technology solution. Using the Australian designed and built Project Synergy to power the Government’s mental health gateway reflects a best practice approach. This investment, on top of the current collaborative design approach to the Gateway and additional digital solutions with subject experts like Butterfly, is essential to delivering a 21st century solution.

Butterfly Foundation is pleased to see a new investment, in mental health research and development of $12 million in a new Suicide Prevention Research Fund, is common sense and will advance our knowledge of eating disorders nurturing the creation of new and innovative treatments.

Butterfly also welcomes investment of $1.5 million in mental health nurse capacity training through the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing. This is a strong step in recognising the need to invest in capacity and capability of the mental health workforce across Australia, to work with those with eating disorders.

Quotes from Christine Morgan, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation:

“We applaud the Prime Minister for hearing and responding to Australia’s desperate need for investment in our mental health. We look forward to working with the Prime Minister and Health Minister to realise this commitment and further health system reforms needed for eating disorders.”

“The additional $32.5 million investment in our mental health digital solution for all Australians with mental health needs is a welcome commitment to the future of integrated mental health system reform.”

“The inclusion of Project Synergy – a great example of Australian virtuosity and capability, demonstrates the Turnbull Government’s recognition of digital solutions that have involved the input of people with a lived experience. Having a no-wrong door approach that is inherent in Project Synergy, is a good fit for those with complex and specialised needs, such as eating disorders.”

“Innovation is critical, and further investment in R&D will allow us to continue to build an evidence-based approach to the prevention, early intervention and treatment for eating disorders. If we can find the much-needed funding for genetic studies, treatment trials, and incommunity studies on fully integrated care models that include all levels of support for recovery, then we will be able to deliver on the commitment to help to those who desperately need our help.”

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

Media enquiries: Jenny Muir – 0415 401 200