27 September 2023

New recipe to combat eating disorders

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ACT Health has published a new strategy for dealing with eating disorders in the Territory.

Announcing the Eating Disorders Strategy Paper, Minister for Mental Health, Shane Rattenbury said that eating disorder services in the ACT ranged from primary health care to specialist eating disorder interventions, together with community programs and education.

Mr Rattenbury said he would be taking a number of short term actions to strengthen the eating disorders service system.

These included increasing knowledge of eating disorders amongst GPs; establishing a Specialty Network listing of health professionals with an interest and passion in eating disorders; exploring interstate clinical specialist partnerships and increasing community access to existing specialist e-therapy programs and services.

Also planned was the incorporation of eating disorders literacy training for the general mental health workforce and working with established health and mental health service providers to raise awareness and service offerings for eating disorders.

Mr Rattenbury said the strategy also identified possible future options, ensuring that services were system-wide, rather than focused on acute services.

“Eating disorders are serious illnesses that are often poorly understood, and their impacts underestimated,” he said.

“These diseases cause high levels of psychological distress, carry risk of long term mental and physical illness, an increased risk of premature death due to medical complications and an increased risk of suicide.”

He said the evidence was clear — the sooner treatment for an eating disorder began, the shorter the recovery process.

The 12-page strategy paper can be accessed at this PS News link.

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