News

Millions for research into eating disorders


Paul Hayes


3/06/2019 1:31:06 PM

The Federal Government has pledged $5 million for research into the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders.

Weight range
People experiencing an eating disorder are not necessarily underweight and can appear in all weight ranges.

Approximately one million Australian people live with an eating disorder, according to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.
 
‘They are extremely complex illnesses, and have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness,’ he said.
 
The Government’s new $5 million pledge will fund projects with ‘a specific focus on using digital solutions to prevent the onset of eating disorders, and on transforming our health system to enable earlier intervention, so that individuals have the best chance of recovery’.
 
‘These projects have the potential to save and protect lives of the patients with this disease,’ Minister Hunt said.
 
The projects are:

  • MAINSTREAM Centre for Health System Research and Translation in Eating Disorders: detection and intervention system-focused knowledge to drive better outcomes in mainstream care for eating disorders. Dr Sarah Maguire, University of Sydney InsideOut Institute ($3.67 million)
  • Leveraging digital technology to reduce the prevalence and severity of eating disorders in Australia. Associate Professor Matthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, Deakin University ($1.34 million).
The projects are said to be among the first initiatives of the Government’s Million Minds Mission, which aims to enrol a million additional people in new mental health trials and programs.
 
Around 4% of the Australian population is currently experiencing an eating disorder, with suicide rates for people with anorexia 32 times higher than the general population.
 
Butterfly Foundation CEO Kevin Barrow has welcomed the new funding.
 
‘Dedicated investment into research into all aspects of eating disorders has long been needed in Australia. This is especially true for key areas of early detection and intervention through health system reform, and into how technology can be deployed to assist in the reduction of prevalence of eating disorders,’ he said.
 
‘Having a dedicated mental health research program underpins the necessary reforms the health system needs to respond to the millions of Australians living with mental ill health, including the one million who are currently living with an eating disorder.’



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