Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) has been established by a group of Australian parents and supports who have cared for and treated a young person with an eating disorder, to advocate for the needs and roles of other parents during this experience. Parents and families of children under 18 years are seen by the service system to be vital to treatment and recovery, but not necessarily equipped or supported to be a part of this process. Parents and families of adult children over 18 years have an even less clear mandate and yet have a vital role to play in their family member’s well being and recovery.

Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) acknowledges that not all parents and families are prepared to access their own resources and support or capable of playing a central role in the treatment and recovery of their family member with an eating disorder. However, it is best practice for all parents and families to be given the option and support to maximise their role in the care team. Such collaborative approaches result in better long-term outcomes for our loved ones, more resilient families and less impact on our health system.

Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) sees parents and families of people with eating disorders as parents, carers, siblings, extended family or significant others.

Want to understand what it is like to care for someone with an eating disorder?

Gregg and Sarah Brown, parents of a young person who is recovered from an eating disorder, made this amazing video documentary for EDFA featuring 3 families telling their story of the impact of the eating disorder on their family and what they needed to do to support their loved one.  To view this video go to

Access Peer Support

Learning and hearing from others who ‘get it’ and can provide helpful practical advice is a key to being able to support our family members effectively. EDFA ‘get it’ and are here to work on providing increased opportunities for people to connect in face to face settings, as well as online. For more information, click HERE

Can you help us with your time or skills please??

Eating Disorders Families Australia is a volunteer, not for profit organisation, supporting & advocating for parents & carers as they battle to save their loved one from an eating disorder, which are potentially life-threatening mental illnesses.

EDFA has two exciting initiatives requiring support with marketing communications/graphic design and administration.

  1. TBT-S :Following the success of our Temperament Based Treatment with Supports (TBT-S) training around Australia in 2019 , EDFA will offer this training again in 2020 & wants to encourage & support more clinicians to apply the TBT-S methodology & so will need more people to help get this off the ground by joining our committee….

Skills needed include:

  • Marketing; writing material for websites, social media, promotional flyers etc
  • General administration and logistical arrangements. Tasks such as arranging accommodation, venues, minute taking.

If you are ready to contribute in this way, please contact the Portfolio Leader, Gordon Brockway, at who would be delighted to hear from you!

  1. Strive Carer Support Groups :EDFA are planning to expand on their successful Melbourne Eating Disorders Parent Support Group, by training facilitators to run local support groups in each state.

Help needed including:

  • Parents or carers with lived experience of caring for someone with an eating disorder (who is currently well) to volunteer to be trained as support group facilitators to run monthly meetings (as part of the EDFA team) to support other parents & carers as they navigate the difficult road to guiding a loved one towards recovery.
  • Brochure drop, fundraise in your local area

If you feel you would like to give back to support other carers, be a voice of hope & encouragement & are willing to be trained as a facilitator, or can help in any other way. please contact Christine Naismith at

Of course, we need funding to support our initiatives, so please become a member of EDFA for just $25 per year ( )or consider making a donation to our volunteer, not-for-profit organisation ( )

Hang in there. Your loved one needs you!
Extract from this great book -
Stay Committed
Plan to stay committed for as long as this takes. Recovery from an eating disorder does not adhere to any set timeline – it can take not months, but years to fully resolve. The work I’m going to suggest you do to help your teen will be hard and will require focus. Prioritizing the eating disorder may mean putting life on hold for yourself and/or your child. Some parents take time off work or put vacation plans on hold. Some young adults may need to delay going to college.

Regardless of the type of treatment your adolescent is receiving, there is room for family caregivers to provide meal support. Given the current trend toward cost reduction by insurance providers, there will rarely be a scenario in which a teen leaves an intensive treatment center and comes home fully "cured." The reality is that any treatment is only the first stop on the road to recovery – full recovery requires time. It requires eating enough food regularly throughout the day, maintaining a healthy weight, and not engaging in dieting, bingeing, purging, or excessive exercise for an extended time period.

During this time you may need to supervise all of your teen’s meals in order to help him or her fully recover. You can facilitate this by helping and requiring your teen to practice recovery-consistent behaviors, thus extending the duration of time spent with optimal nutrition, versus allowing him or her to fall under the spell of the eating disorder again. Whichever treatment model is used, FBT principles and training are vitally important for families.

There are real costs to not treating this as a priority. As a clinician, I have seen many patients with eating disorders dive into situations they didn’t want to miss but were not stable enough to handle. I have heard heartbreaking stories of teens who engaged in travel, study abroad programs, sports participation, and college all before they were ready. They experienced so much anxiety they could not fully benefit from or enjoy the opportunity they endangered their recovery to attend. The support they required (therapy, help from family, medical appointments) took time away from the very activities they had wanted to enjoy. College students were resentful that they had so many therapy appointments to attend. Others had to come home early. They then blamed themselves when it became too much too handle or their recovery derailed. These patients would have been better off waiting for full health, when they could fully take advantage of the opportunity.

In my experience, families can struggle with placing the appropriate prioritization on recovery. They may have trips planned and other things they want to accomplish. They may fear disappointing their sick adolescent (or a sibling) by canceling an activity. When dealing with these frustrations, it can be helpful to think about other life-altering conditions: if your child had diabetes or cancer, you almost certainly would prioritize your adolescent’s treatment over other family activities. An eating disorder can be just as deadly as these better understood disorders. Your adolescent’s fate is in your hands. You need persistence.
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