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Support for body image and eating disorders



The Butterfly Foundation is a service committed to finding support for those who have body image issues or an eating disorder. Support is also available to those who care for or have concerns for someone close to them and looking for ways to support the person.


Over 1 million Australians are currently experiencing an eating disorder, and less than 25% of those receive treatment or support. This equates to about 4-5 % of the population at any given time. Everyone’s experience of an eating disorder is unique; they are not a lifestyle choice, neither a cry for attention.


Eating disorders don’t care about age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. People for all walks of life experience eating disorders.

It is unlikely that one single thing will lead to an eating disorder developing. It is much more likely to be a combination of risk factors, including genetics, emotional factors, and cultural influences.


There are lots of different eating disorders, including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder. Whilst they all look different and have different behaviours attached to them, body image issues are common to all of them.


Body Image is the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs we have about our bodies and how we look, including our shape, size, weight, and the way our body functions for us.

Successful treatment and complete recovery from an eating disorder is possible. However, eating disorders are a complex mental illness, and therefore people who experience an eating disorder need expert treatment and support.


The first step to recovery from and eating disorder or body image issue is often seeing a health professional, such as your GP.


The Butterfly National Helpline also offers free and confidential support for anyone concerned about eating disorders or body image issues. Specialist counsellors offer non-judgmental support over the phone, by email and by online chat including:

  • Information about eating disorders and body image.

  • Information and resources about treatment, care, and support

  • Referrals to health practitioners who understand eating disorders.

  • Counselling

They are open 7 days a week from 8am – midnight and the Helpline number is 1800 33 4673.

A range of Support Groups are also available for those affected by body image or eating disorders- and this includes support groups for anyone who cares about them.


Butterfly foundation also offer Support programs, with key topics and areas of challenge.

“In the Wings” is Butterfly’s free Single Session Consultation, providing evidence bases assessment and psycho-education for people with a referral from a General Practitioner. Online referral forms are available on the website.

Don’t know where to start? Call the national Helpline and they will help guide you seeking support.


Eating disorder treatment is also available in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

This means that if you have an eating disorder, you can access inpatient and community-based treatment with a multi-disciplinary treating team, closer to home.

Mental Health Clinicians, Dietitians, Nursing Staff, Doctors, and Psychiatrists may form part of your treating team when you access care.

This service can be accessed by calling Accessline on 1800 800 944.




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