Yeah, wow, so this is disgusting.

The Butterfly FoundationAustralia‘s only dedicated support service for people with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia – is getting the chop next year as part of a restructure of online mental health services.

The ABC got hold of a letter from the Federal Department of Health that confirms a plan to develop one centralised online “gateway” for treatment of mental illness in general.

“It will bring together and streamline access to existing evidence-based information, advice and digital mental health treatment and connect people to services through a centralised telephone and web portal,” it reads.

There’s some merit in the streamlining of services but – as anyone who’s ever suffered a mental illness knows – there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment method; anorexia has the highest death rate of any mental illness, and the lack of a specialised support service like the Butterfly Foundation would be a huge blow.

In a statement given to PEDESTRIAN.TV, the Butterfly Foundation called on the government to guarantee the more than 1,000 people who receive up to an hour of phone and web counselling via its service every month will still receive the support they desperately need.

“Butterfly calls on the Federal Health Minister and the Shadow Minister for Health to accept their responsibility to people across the country suffering from debilitating mental illness that also seriously impairs physical health – and commit to the necessary funding, services, information and support.

The Government needs to guarantee ongoing survival of the national ED HOPE supportline within the new digital gateway environment, and provide a funding boost of $1.5m per annum, to increase capacity to 24/7 and improve its ability to provide online counselling services.”

P.TV has reached out to the Federal Health Minister for comment.

Photo: Getty / Sean Gallup. 


Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to
contact the Butterfly National Eating Disorders Supportline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED
HOPE). For now.