Eating Disorders in Schools: Prevention, Early Identification and Response

About this resource

People who are identified and treated early in the course of an eating disorder have a significantly better chance of recovery when compared with those who have been living with an eating disorder longer; this is particularly relevant for young people. However, the median duration of treatment delay is extraordinarily long (10 years for those meeting criteria for bulimia nervosa and 15 years for those meeting criteria for anorexia nervosa). This suggests that people with eating disorders experience significant barriers to seeking help. One principal barrier has been identified as the stigma that exists around eating disorders. To reduce the stigma associated with eating disorders, there needs to be a shift in the attitudes and knowledge of the general community about eating disorders. In Australia there has been a growth in mental health awareness and active efforts by government, media and the wider community to reduce stigma and improve mental health literacy. Schools are in a powerful position to help with these efforts.

This resource is written for education professionals working in schools to assist them in understanding eating disorders, promoting health and wellbeing within their schools, recognising and responding to eating disorders, and supporting students who are undergoing treatment for an eating disorder. The resource encourages a whole- school approach to eating disorders.

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