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National commitment to eating disorders announced

Greg Hunt, COAG and the Australian government anounces a national committment towards treatment of Eating Disorders

On August 4th, Minister Greg Hunt announced the national commitment to eating disorders made by COAG and all of Australia’s Health Ministers at the COAG Health Minister’s meeting to address the critical need of  the 1 million Australians with eating disorders and their families.

At Eating Disorders Families Australia we are thrilled that both the Federal and State Governments have recognised the impact of eating disorders on our loved ones and have listened to both the lobbying of organisations such as The Butterfly Foundation and to the personal stories of those affected by eating disorders. In particular, we want to acknowledge the bravery of those who shared their powerful stories of paying the ultimate price, losing their loved ones to eating disorders through either suicide or medical complications.

We look forward to seeing how this commitment is articulated in the 5th National Mental Health Plan and look forward to being a part of this new national approach.

Part of Greg Hunt’s door stop interview

Today was a huge breakthrough in terms of mental health. The Fifth National Mental Health Plan was approved by the states.

What this is about is enormous progress on suicide prevention. It has actually become the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, so a real focus on suicide prevention.

In particular, the focus on what happens when people are discharged from hospital, the group in Australia that are most likely to take their own lives.

We actually know not just the group, but the very individuals who are most at risk. That’s an enormous step.

The second thing here is, as part of that plan, a focus on eating disorders, and it is a still-hidden issue. In 2017, the hidden issue of eating disorders, of anorexia and bulimia, and the prevalence and the danger of it is still dramatically understated in Australia.

The reality is that this is a silent killer and particularly women can be caught up for years and years, and so there’s a mutual determination, a universal determination to progress on eating disorders, and that will now be a central part of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

And also, as part of that, we’ve included, at the Commonwealth’s request today, a real focus on early intervention services for young people under 16. Pat McGorry has referred to it as CATs for Kids, meaning Crisis Assessment Teams, and the opportunity.

And this is a really important step because, for many families, when they have a crisis, there’s nowhere to turn. This is a way through. So those are all enormous steps forward.

The other mental health area where we’ve made big, big progress is on allowing doctors to seek routine mental health treatment.

There’s an agreement by all of the states and territories to work with the Commonwealth on giving doctors a pathway so as they can seek routine mental health treatment without being reported to the professional bodies.

Here are some links to the full  record of Minister Greg Hunts door stop interview.

Doorstop Transcript by Minister Greg Hunt

The Butterfly Foundation press release

 (Picture: EDFA Chair Gordon Brockway and Board Director Don Irvine chatting to Minister Hunt earlier this year)

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