A new survey by The Butterfly Foundation has found that one in three Australians affected by eating disorders put themselves in debt to fund treatment, one in four people delay or stop treatment due to costs, and a whopping 68 per cent borrow money from family for treatments.
The consultative survey asked Aussies to share their experiences on the cost of treating eating disorders, and the results were alarming:
In light of this, the foundation has launched their MAYDAYS for Eating Disorders campaign in an effort to raise funds and awareness.
The advocacy campaign takes place nationally throughout the month of May, and draws on the experiences of Australians to highlight key concerns relating to eating disorders.
As part of the campaign, a number of brave Australians agreed to share their stories.
One of them was Fiona Wright, who over the last eight years has spent “at least $75,000” on treatment, including psychologists, psychiatrists, dietitians and medical testing.
“It’s ongoing, I’m still forking money out left right and centre and I’m nowhere near cured,” she explains in an emotional YouTube clip:
Wright’s story is not unique, but it’s incredibly concerning, and the foundation is calling on the Australian government to step up and explore funding treatment through Medicare.
Butterfly Foundation CEO Christine Morgan said every person in the country should have the same access to mental health care, at the same standard that is available for people with physical health issues.
“Australia needs to work closely with those with a lived experience of mental illness and the current health system to ensure that treatment for eating disorders is delivered as multidisciplinary and consistent, regardless of postcode,” she said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, this is not a new story. Time and time again Butterfly hears of families and individuals who are unable to navigate the Australian health system or access viable treatment, resulting in a sense of hopelessness and in some cases loss of life.
“Treatment should not be delivered or received in crisis or at acute levels of illness only, and clinicians and health care providers cannot be left untrained to treat an illness that affects 1-in-20 Australians, regardless of the medical environment they work in.”
The full report is due later this year, and you can help out by sharing your experiences, or donating, here.
If you’d like to talk with someone about disordered eating, you can contact the Butterfly Foundation for assistance by calling 1800 334 673.