Hope is the theme of our Christmas Appeal this year because hope is critical for so many aspects of the eating disorder journey.
I am someone who is not particularly into esoteric concepts and have a tendency to dismiss them in favour of pragmatism. However, it has been a deep lesson I have learnt over the last 11 years that hope is intrinsic to surviving an eating disorder. Hope is crucial for families commencing and undertaking the caring journey. Once hope is lost, a central platform from which we are able to do the radical work of recovery and caring is gone.
Hope comes from hearing from those who have recovered, from carers/families who have come out the other side, from clinicians who can hold that hope for their clients when all looks bleak, from a whole community that believes that recovery is more than possible, it is likely.
For this reason, we have been concerned regarding the media this week accompanying Zoe Daniels’ question in parliament asking for action in eating disorders in young people. We agree there is a crisis in sections of our system. We know families and young people who have been in a hugely distressing cycle of multiple inpatient admissions with no end in sight. We have been advocating for significant change in this space within the partnership we are undertaking with the state government to develop a new Victorian Eating Disorders Strategy.
However, the media this week has widely portrayed a system of care for eating disorders that is completely broken and offers nothing for young people and their families outside of the hospital setting. That is not true and messaging of this nature strips families of hope, at the time where hope is essential to do what needs to be done for their young person. It also strips young people of hope that they can get the help they need.
Anyone new to the journey or who is struggling to get the support they need, please reach out to EDV. Speak to our Telehealth Nurses, engage in our Carer Support Programs, receive our very practical recovery and carer newsletters.
I wish all of you in our community a restful and hope-infused festive season, and for those for whom the festive season is still fraught, compassion for yourselves and your families.
Belinda Caldwell, CEO