Latest news | 02 Jun 2021

Butterfly Foundation unites with international network to champion equity for eating disorders on World Eating Disorders Action Day


Up to 195% increase in the need for helpline, online and social support during COVID19 demonstrates the importance of global effort in driving awareness of the needs of those living with any eating disorder and strive for #Equity4EatingDisorders on an international scale.

Today, World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD), Butterfly Foundation is uniting for the first time with leading international network National Eating Disorder Information Centre, Canada (NEDIC), Beat Eating Disorders UK (BEAT), and the National Eating Disorders Association in the United States (NEDA), to raise much needed awareness for equity of access to support and services for people with eating disorders.

Globally, COVID19 has seen a significant need for support for those with eating disorders including telephone calls to Helplines, webchats, social media direct message and online support groups. As a collective, the strain on national helplines peaked in 2020 with increases of up to 195% in the United Kingdom, 67% in Canada, and 57% increase in the United States.

In Australia, since the beginning of the pandemic, Butterfly has continued its dedication to ensuring people experiencing eating disorders receive the support they need. Demand for the Butterfly National Helpline increased by 35%, including a 116% increase via webchat in the 12 months from March 2020 to Feb 2021. At its peak, the Helpline received nearly 3,500 contacts in a month; equivalent to 120 calls every day. Despite life resuming to “COVID normal”, contacts to Butterfly’s Helpline have maintained their high volume, averaging just under 2,500 each month since the start of 2021.

“We know that during COVID19 people were struggling even more than usual with eating disorders and body images issues. The significant increases in the volume of calls, messages, and people attending our online support groups is a testament to that. Now more than ever, we want to ensure anyone with an eating disorder, or their families and support network, can easily access our resources and professional support whenever they are in need”, said Amelia Trinick, Butterfly’s Helpline Supervisor and Counsellor.

WEDAD is an internationally renowned annual grassroots movement that is designed by and for people affected with an eating disorder, their families and the medical and professional health community who support them. This year, the focus of the movement is on equity – equity for addressing all forms of eating disorders, equity of research funding, equity of access to treatment and recovery; and equity of support and services for marginalised or under-represented groups in our society.

“We need a global approach to raising awareness of eating disorders and World Eating Disorders Action Day is the perfect opportunity for us to unite with our global colleagues to alert our communities about how much support and resources are needed for those in our community living with eating disorders”, said Kevin Barrow, CEO, Butterfly Foundation.



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.