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Thursday, 22 March 2018

EDV is excitied to announce that we will be hosting June Alexander to hold an all day therapeutic writing workshop. Join us, as June will teach you how to explore the benefits of writing and how it can help in your recovery from an eating disorder.


Thursday, 07 December 2017

Eating Disorder Victoria's Peer Mentoring Program

The Peer Mentoring Program (PMP) has been developed in partnership with Eating Disorders Victoria and Austin Health (Body image and eating disorders treatment and recovery service – BETRS).

The program is the only program of its kind for eating disorders patients in Victoria, and Australia-wide. The program involves a mentor who has themselves recovered from an eating disorder, who is matched with a participant who is currently living with an eating disorder and trying to recover from it. The participant can either be exiting hospital treatment or a current hospital in-patient. 

Funding for the development, pilot and evaluation of this program has been provided by The Ian Potter Foundation, John T Reid Charitable Trusts and The William Buckland Foundation. 

The peer mentoring program is designed to:

  • Provide hope to participants that recovery is possible
  • Reduce hospital readmission rates 
  • Improve quality of life for participants and mentors (through mentors improving their capacity to support others)

What is a peer mentor?

Peer Mentoring can be defined as the help and support that people with lived experience of a mental illness are able to give one another. It is a relationship based on shared experince, wherea Mentor assists a participant’s recovery by focusing on strengths and developing skills to accomplish self-identified goals.

A Mentor provides valuable insight of someone with a lived experience, which is extremely valuable in the eyes of the participant. Often it is the unique relationship, unlike a friendship or clinical relationship, that in some ways can fill the gap between the two.

Quite often those in recovery have not met anyone who has recovered and as a result can find it challenging to believe it is possible.

How does the program work?

Participants are matched with an EDV mentor and meet on a fortnightly basis for 13 sessions. Each session can be up-to three hours at a time. The mentor supports the participant by working together to develop a recovery focused wellness plan. They then undertake the activities in the wellness plan together, to achieve identified goals - including engaging with community life and developing self-care.


The PMP has been running for 12 months. During this time the mentors and participants have participated in an external evaluation to determine outcomes of the program. To date there has been 21 participants matched with 14 participants and 141 sessions held.

Some of the great outcomes from the first program are-

  • 100% of participants in the program all completed a ‘Wellness Plan’ which formed the structure for sessions and included support information and goals to work on.
  • Participants reported they liked the relaxed nature of the program, but felt reassured that there were parameters in place to help guide the relationship.
  • 100% of participants showed improvements in their Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaires, especially in the areas of eating concern and shape concern.
  • 60% showed improvements in coping skills and the ability to actively manage persistent symptoms and triggers. 
  • 72% of participants were not readmitted.
  • 100% of mentors received training from SANE Australia to develop skills to respond to thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
  • 100% of mentors found the program to be of benefit to their own recovery by allowing them to unpack aspects of their recovery and having access to a support team if issues arose. Mentors viewed the program as positive with regard to their own self-care and gaining perspective on how far they had come in their own recovery.

Below are some quotes from the Peer Mentors after completeing the program-

Peer mentors:

  • “I’ve never met a group like the other peer mentors before. I remember sitting there on the first day thinking, “Who ARE these people – they’re incredible!” It’s so hard to put into words. I’ve just never met such an inspiring bunch of empowering, amazing people my entire life. I was in awe, and I still am!”
  • “getting to use my lived experience, you know, past experiences that were quite negative and traumatic, and then being able to use it in a positive way”
  • “I felt like it just reminded me how lucky I am that I actually got through all of that, I was really unwell and I was not necessarily recovering in the greatest way”.
  • “Recovery is not perfect”
  • “Recovery is about being able to deal with those emotions without the coping strategy of ED. While the negative emotions might be big, so are the other positive ones.”
  • “My goal is to help you reach your goal” 


Participant quotes:

  • “I was looking for a quick fix. I wanted to get better overnight. She said “that’s not going to happen, you need to accept that it’s going to take time.”
  • “It can get a bit overwhelming, having so many different treating team members and having to see so many different people and talk. It’s good to just be able to do something a bit more fun, and still be able to talk if that is what you need to do but in a less structured way.”
  • “I’ve never been more motivated to change”


Want to get involved?


We are currently only taking referrals from the Austin Hopsital eating disorder program at this stage, but watch this space for developments.


If you have recovered from an eating disorder and would like to apply to be a Mentor, contact EDV This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Alice Hobday This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1300 550236

Note – we are not currently recruiting for new Mentors, but are able to add you to the wait list.

Thursday, 23 November 2017
Picture of Rikki at Everest Base Camp

You may or may not have read on EDVs social media that I was recently in Nepal and completed the Everest Base Camp Trek. I would like to share my journey and speak about why I decided to utililise this journey to help raise money and awareness of EDV and eating disorders.

I have been a volunteer with EDV for the better part of two years and whilst being a volunteer suggests I am giving up my time, I cannot describe the privilege I feel being a part of the EDV community. As I am sure most of you know, a lot of the time EDV is the first point of contact for those experiencing an eating disorder or for their loved ones, and the fantastic people who work and volunteer at EDV strive to offer support, information and most importantly hope.

Given all that EDV does, I decided to use my upcoming trip as a way to give back and started the “Feed the Bear Campaign” to raise awareness of EDV and eating disorders. To be honest, when I thought about it, the comparison between the Everest Base Camp Trek and the journey of recovery from an eating disorder was quite remarkable.

Everest is the highest peak in the world at 8,848 metres, the oxygen is a third of what we have here at sea level. Everest Base camp, whilst not the summit, which stands at 5,380 metres, and after a five-day trek up you certainly can feel the effects of 50% less oxygen.

I started off my trek with a goal to get to base camp and to come down without a helicopter! And like the journey to recovery, my journey to base camp and back was physically and emotionally challenging. The days were long, usually between 5-6 hours but some days were up to eight hours, and it was warm for most of the trek.

Whilst walking for a couple of hours could feel pretty breezy, and the surrounds were stunning, there was always at least one steep incline a day that usually lasted for at least an hour or two and I struggled. By the end of each day my hands were so swollen I couldn’t bend them and one of my toes had become numb. But of course, the inclines got harder as the oxygen became thinner.

I had to take my time, sometimes being hours behind others. Two days before reaching base camp I began to feel physically ill and dizzy from the altitude, this was on top of a cold I picked up around day two. The highlight was the end of the day when I got to sit and hang out with the people taking this journey with me, though we had our moments from being so tired.

If I am to be honest, by the time I reached base camp I only spent enough time there to get some photos. I was just too exhausted to care about where I was or what I had achieved. But the next day, as soon as we started to descend, I felt the altitude sickness and the cold fade away. The journey down was easier, and though there were still some tough inclines, I could actually appreciate not only what I had achieved but I was able to take time to enjoy the scenery around me.

This journey kind of reminds me of recovery. It involves some steep inclines, which set you back. You feel physically and emotionally exhausted, but after you reach that goal, it becomes easier and you get to appreciate the life around you.

I guess the ultimate goal of the fundraiser was not just to raise money for EDV but also to raise awareness of the mammoth journey those going through recovery of an eating disorder and their loved ones go through, the importance of support needed for that journey and to emphasise the role EDV plays in that journey.

I know I wouldn’t have made the trek without a guide to help lead me in the right direction or friends to offer support.

To finish I would just like to thank all those who donated to the “Feed the Bear Campaign”. You helped raise over $1,400, which is amazing! I am still amazed at how much was raised and would recommend fundraising to anyone, it is so rewarding.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Are you looking for something to do over Summer?

Do you want to learn more about body image?

Do you want to hang out and meet new people?

If you are aged between 14-18 years old, then this may be the program for you!


WHEN: Wednesdays in January (10, 17 and 24)
TIME: 11am-1:30pm
WHERE: Eating Disorders Victoria Level 2, Collingwood Football Club Community Centre, Abbotsford
COST: $45 per person (resources and snacks provided)
CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Body Project Australia summer flyer

Thursday, 30 November 2017

How to manage a relapse, especially over the festive season

For many people who are recovering from an eating disorder or supporting a loved one through recovery, a relapse into old behaviours and thoughts can be devastating. While it might not feel like it at the time, relapse can be viewed as an opportunity to learn important lessons about what is and isn’t working, and make positive changes for the future.

A relapse can enable you to explore what triggered the change in your recovery journey, and how you might adapt the skills you have already learned, and acquire new ones, to get back on track with your recovery with newfound skills under your belt.

Here are a few tips on how to move on from a relapse and to get your recovery back on track.

  • Acknowledge that relapse is normal

Recovery from an eating disorder means addressing many deep habitual patterns and learning different strategies to manage difficult situations. Acknowledge that there may be a situation that triggers these old ways of coping and that this brief return to the previous coping strategy is normal on the path to recovery. Remember to live in the ‘grey zone’ and understand that this is a journey. Without this acceptance we can fall into ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking calling ourselves “successful” or “failed” when these types of very normal occurrences (lapses) happen on our recovery journey

  • See it as a learning opportunity

Treat the ‘lapse’ as a great opportunity to learn from. Look at it with curiosity and interest, rather than with disdain. Treat it as a great opportunity to look at where you might need extra support, additional strategies, or to look at some underlying issues that may need attending to.

  • Celebrate your strengths

Within the ‘lapse’ take time to review what you were able to do, that you might not have had the knowledge or tools to do previously. This might be a choice you made to reach out for help, or your ability to understand what triggered you. Acknowledge to yourself that you have these strengths and tools to help you face forward again.

  • Develop self compassion

Experiencing a ‘lapse’ can be a time when self punitive or punishing thought run high. To pick yourself up and face forward again you need encouragement and support….from you! Think about what you would say to someone else you have met in a recovery support group, or what you imagine you would say to a friend recovering from an eating disorder. Speak kindly to yourself, be a cheer leader and encourage yourself to move forward.

The EDV Helpline is available to support both individuals and family and friends at any stage of the recovery process. If you are having a bad day or simply want to share your thoughts and experiences with someone who understands, give the Helpline a call on 1300 550 236 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Deakin University Research Project

Have you or your loved one received support for an eating disorder from a public mental health service?


Would you like a chance to have your say on how these services should look in the future?


If so, Deakin University would love to hear from you!


Getting the help you or your loved one needs for an eating disorder can be a complicated process.  Services that provide assessment and treatment for people experiencing eating disorders are structured differently across Victoria, so what support you get really depends on where you live.


Deakin University want to better understand your experience of service delivery in Victoria.  What services were available to you? What parts of the service worked well?  What areas could be improved?


The resarchers are hoping to speak to people who have formerly received assessment, treatment and/or support from a public service in Victoria and people who have cared for a loved one experiencing an eating disorder.  They will use this information to develop a new integrated approach to eating disorder service delivery.  They hope that in future, everyone has equal access to the high quality care they need, when they need it.


This Deakin University research project is being conducted by Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin and Rachel King.


If you are interested in talking to us about your experience of service delivery for eating disorders in Victoria, please contact Genevieve Pepin for more information.


Genevieve Pepin

Ph: 5227 8462

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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