The Butterfly Foundation represents all people affected by eating disorders and negative body image – a person with the illness, their family and their friends. As a leading national voice in supporting their needs, Butterfly highlights the realities of seeking treatment for recovery, and advocates for improved services from both government and independent sources.
Eating disorders are serious psychiatric disorders with significantly distorted eating behaviours and high risk of physical as well as psychological harm. Left unaddressed, the medical, psychological and social consequences can be serious and long term. Once entrenched eating disorders can impact on every aspect of an individual’s life and for many, can be life threatening.
Butterfly operates a National ED HOPE Service that includes support over the phone, via email and online. ED HOPE is staffed by trained counsellors experienced in assisting with eating disorders. It also provides a wide range of programs for service providers and recovery groups.
Because Butterfly recognises that eating disorders often arise from poor body image, it delivers a range of Positive Body Image workshops to schools and workplaces through its education program. It has a strong media presence to raise awareness of Butterfly’s perspective in community debates about body image and eating disorders.
Throughout its work Butterfly emphasises the critical importance of prevention and early intervention strategies in limiting the development of, and suffering from, negative body image and eating disorders. To expand knowledge in this field The Butterfly Research Institute commissions academic research projects and funds PhD research scholarships.
Butterfly is committed to collaboration across the sector, and presently co-ordinate the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) for the Australian Department of Health and Ageing.