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More support for people with an eating disorder

The Australian Government is providing almost $3 million for more support and better treatment for people suffering from eating disorders.

Eating disorders not only affect an individual’s relationship with food, but also body image, confidence, mental health, and overall health.

They are among the most debilitating of mental health conditions and the impact on families is immense.

Thousands of people in Australia are known to suffer from the disease each year, with many more facing the difficult battle without the proper treatment or care, with only 25 per cent of people thought to be diagnosed.

The Butterfly Foundation will receive $1.7 million to expand its national counselling service, ED Hope, which provides information and guidance on treatments and referral options to people affected by an eating disorder and their family and friends seeking advice.

I am also pleased to launch the Butterfly Foundation’s new National Agenda for Eating Disorders, which aims to ensure we have a national approach to help people with eating disorders.

The goal of the National Agenda is to establish a bank of information around what works, so people suffering from this disease can access the best treatment for their needs.

The Federal Government is committed to bringing together state and territory governments and industry to deliver a consistent response in treating and supporting people with eating disorders.

State and territories are primarily responsible for treatment services but one of the first steps we will take towards a nationally consistent approach is to fund a Workforce Capability Project.

This will increase the skills of health professionals to identify and respond to eating disorders.

The Butterfly Foundation will receive an additional $1.2 million over the next two years to roll this out nationally through the National Eating Disorders Collaboration.

I strongly believe that we need to do more to support and offer appropriate treatment to people with an eating disorder.

That’s why in May I requested the Medical Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce investigate options for Medicare coverage for the treatment needs of those people with an eating disorder.

I asked them to consider safe integrated treatment for eating disorders that address all aspects of the illness, including physical, psychological, behavioural, nutritional, occupational and social needs.

Since 2013, the Federal Government has funded over $11 million for eating disorder treatment and support.

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