We commend and thank Zoe Daniel and fellow federal independent members for shining a national spotlight on this issue.
Since the start of the pandemic, eating disorder presentations and demand for hospital services have increased dramatically. This was on top of at least 10 years of rising eating disorder cases, particularly in young people.
Since 2020, EDV have been funded to deploy innovative community services to help address some of the growing demand. Services like Telehealth Counselling, Telehealth Nurses, Carer Coaching, the SE-ED Program, Online Support Groups, have all become core business for EDV and our community.
We are extremely concerned that these services, which account for 75% of our funding, are only guaranteed until June 2023.
It’s not just our hospital services that need greater investment, it’s our community services too. Community services can be highly effective in getting people help early, preventing people from needing to end up in the hospital system and supporting those who are not eligible for hospital services.
Where to from here?
It’s important for Victorians to know that there is enormous passion and expertise in the eating disorder sector. We all want to see significant investment and improvement in the entire system of care.
Currently, the Department of Health is working in partnership with EDV, CEED and a large range of stakeholders to develop a new Victorian Eating Disorder Strategy. Alongside this, a new National Eating Disorder Strategy is being developed. Both are expected to be finalised by June 2023. We expect these strategies will provide a robust, evidence-based roadmap for investment in Victoria and federally.
The Victorian strategy has involved wide consultation with the lived experience community. We want to say a huge thank you to all those who have bravely put their hand up to speak and share their experiences with the hope of building a better system.
In the lead up to the Victorian election, we asked both major political parties to commit to funding the roll-out of the Victorian Eating Disorder Strategy upon its completion. Neither party responded to this commitment.
We have a long way to go to improve outcomes for ALL Victorians impacted by eating disorders. But we are hopeful for change, and hopeful that the political will to implement change will meet this moment.
In the meantime, if you or someone you care about is experiencing an eating disorder, please get in touch with us.