Latest news | 17 Apr 2015

They Listened – 1 Million Australians with Eating Disorders recognised by National Mental Health Commission Review


Butterfly Foundation CEO, Christine Morgan has applauded the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services – prepared by the National Mental Health Commission for the Australian Government – saying it is a significant milestone for the million Australians who are impacted by eating disorders.

“We congratulate the Commission for its forthright and visionary approach to the task of mental health system reform. Recognising that system reform must be person centred is a 180 degree turn, as is the shift away from hospital-based treatment in favour of step-up, step-down, step-in and step-out treatment and care, delivered as much as possible in-community. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia’s mental health system.

“We are pleased with the significant recognition that eating disorders has received. For too many years, eating disorders has been left to a handful of dedicated clinicians, researchers, and determined advocates to represent the needs of those with a lived experience. Yesterday the voices of 1 million Australians with an eating disorder were officially recognised.”

“The Review has honoured the needs of Australians who live with an eating disorder, their families and carers – their perspective, along with everyone living with mental illness in Australia has been placed at the centre of the reform process.”

“We were determined that the Review process was going to recognise eating disorders as a serious mental illness that requires a significant response at every point of the mental health system.

We were determined that the Government was going to learn about the impacts to a person’s life and the type of treatment, support and care that is needed.

We were also determined that new approaches to early intervention, prevention and the use of technology were understood in the context of eating disorders.

For this we are very grateful to everyone who shared their stories with the Commission. Your personal experiences have helped to create a strong understanding of the realities of eating disorders.”

The Australian Government’s response to the Review report announced yesterday was measured and considered. We are pleased that it has characterised the current situation outlined in the Report as one that ‘paints a complex, fragmented, and in parts, disturbing picture of Australia’s mental health system’.

“Butterfly believes that reform will require a bi-partisan approach at a national and state level, and must include significant changes to the way every Australian living with an eating disorder receives support and treatment at a national and state government level.

“The Reform process will most likely take a number of years, and require necessary changes to current services and support to achieve a person-centred approach. Throughout this process Butterfly will maintain its advocacy at all levels of government to ensure that the needs of everyone impacted by eating disorders are understood.”


Media enquiries: Elaine Banoub, 0412 237 673