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Eating Disorder Support Urgently Needed

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Tags: Health, Hospitals, Mental Health

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

The lack of specialist treatment for eating disorders in Tasmania has been an ongoing, and often tragic, issue.

Eating disorders are a serious, insidious mental health condition. Untreated or ignored, due to lack of support or specialist care, the consequences can be devastating and sometimes fatal.

The physical toll on people suffering from an eating disorder is intense, and the associated mental health effects are just as serious.

There are so few providers in the state to treat adult patients, and none in public health. The day a young person turns 18 in Tasmania, they stop being supported and cared for by adolescent and mental health services and are effectively abandoned.

The Greens raised this issue in 2017, and although the Government has provided some funding to the Butterfly Foundation it is nowhere near enough. The Foundation can’t do its job of supporting people if there are no specialist government services for adults.

Many people suffering from an eating disorder cannot afford private treatment, and even for those who can, there are far too few specialists in Tasmania. In too many situations, people end up unnecessarily in hospital because they haven’t been able to access help.

We know the Deputy Premier and Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing takes his responsibility very seriously. We urge Mr Rockliff to put pressure on his Federal colleagues to make good on their promise of a $10 million dedicated facility.

This can’t wait. As we recover from COVID-19 and are considering infrastructure builds, this must be a priority.