People who have experienced, are currently experiencing, are recovering, or have recovered from an eating disorder can access a range of resources to assist them on their road to recovery.
This page provides a list of resources for people with lived experience of an eating disorder or body image concerns, including online materials, tools, and programs, as well as services that provide support.
To better understand the support options available for you, you may like to read about the Stepped System of Care for Eating Disorders. This model outlines the types of clinicians and services that you may access and the role they have in supporting you.
Resources for people with lived experience of an eating disorder
Consumer checklist: Getting treatment for an eating disorder can be a daunting process. It can also feel uncomfortable to ask lots of questions when speaking with a health professionals. It is important for people experiencing an eating disorder, their family and supports to find a health professional that they can work collaboratively and comfortable with. Treatment and recovery can be a long process, and it’s important that people make sure they are working effectively with their health professionals over the long term. We encourage people to ask the questions in this checklist before starting their treatment journey. Created and copyrighted by Tracey Wade, Belinda Caldwell, Shannon Calvert, Tanya Kretschmann, Elise Thompson, Deborah Mitchison and Phillipa Hay.
The Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED) has created the Reach Out And Recover (ROAR) website here for adults who have eating and/or body image concerns and who feel distressed about these concerns. ROAR provides a list of helpful resources and an interactive tool that allows you to generate a report based on your answers to questions about behaviours and thinking patterns related to eating and body concerns.
Western Australia’s The Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI) has published ‘Caring Less About Your Looks’, which can be found here. These modules have been designed to help lessen the impact that appearance concerns can have on a person’s quality of life. The modules examine the factors that can contribute to people becoming very focused on their appearance and introduce specific strategies that directly target these mechanisms. People can work on these modules independently, or with the assistance of a mental health professional. For more information about CCI resources, click here.
CCI also have a new cognitive behavioural therapy for eating disorders (CBT-ED) workbook, Break Free from ED. The self-help workbook provides clear, scientific information about eating disorders and guides consumers through key components of CBT-ED. The workbook is designed as an active, transdiagnostic, guide to recovering from an eating disorder and may be worked through using self-help or with support of a mental health clinician. The modules cover features of eating disorders and associated risks, common maintaining factors, establishing weekly weighing, using self-monitoring to understand patterns of eating as well as other eating disorder thoughts and behaviours, steps towards eating regularly, adequately, and including feared foods as part of recovery, and how to use behavioural experiments to test out fears. Binge eating, purging and driven exercise are addressed before body checking and body avoidance interventions are introduced. We examine the role of negative core beliefs in keeping people vulnerable to eating disorder behaviours and provide strategies to challenge them. Finally, we will help clients set up a relapse prevention action plan.
If you think that you or someone you know may be experiencing an eating disorder, it is important to seek help immediately. The earlier you seek help the closer you are to recovery. Your GP is a good ‘first base’ to seek support and access eating disorder treatment.
If you are looking for an eating disorder-specific clinical service, please see our service locator.
You can also contact Butterfly through their helpline, email, or online chat.
Eating disorder organisations in Australia
In Australia there are several eating disorders lived experience organisations that advocate, educate, support, and provide evidence-based resources for people experiencing an eating disorder and their families and supports. Further information about these organisations can be found here.
The Butterfly Foundation is the national charity for all Australians impacted by eating disorders and body image issues and provides support, care, referrals, and resources. Butterfly operates a National Helpline that includes support over the phone, via email and online.
Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) is a national not-for-profit run by carers with lived experience, connecting, supporting and educating families and carers of people with eating disorders. EDFA runs carer support groups and regular education and information webinars.
State-based lived experience organisations include Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ), a not-for-profit providing integrated eating disorder support services and resources to Queensland individuals living with and recovering from an eating disorder, and Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV), a not-for-profit organisation providing support services, information and guidance to people impacted by eating disorders in Victoria.
For a more comprehensive list of eating disorder lived experience and service development organisations, click here.
Peer support work and support groups
Peer support workers and support groups can provide valuable assistance to people who are thinking about or are in recovery from an eating disorder, as well as families and supports.
Read more about these support options here.