Boost for eating disorders help

The State Government will develop a new eating disorders approach that will address prevention, early intervention, treatment and support services across WA.

The framework builds on the Government’s commitment to implement new community-based treatment services including $31.7 million to expand State-wide eating disorder treatment programs through the expansion of the Western Australian Eating Disorder Treatment Specialist Services (WAEDSSs), including the delivery of two specialist multidisciplinary services. 

The two new Eating Disorder Specialist Services, for those aged 16 years and over, have been developed across the North and South Metropolitan health service areas, and group support services through the Women’s Health and Family Services Body Esteem Program are also being expanded. 

The key function of the teams will be to triage, coordinate and navigate consumers to services, intersecting with other services and service providers, including community services.  

For those diagnosed at 16 and over, there are currently only a small number of therapy and support programs available, including some private services, with long wait lists of up to six months to access treatment. 

WA Mental Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said the new approach would help to address the widely acknowledged services gaps in the support and treatment of people with eating disorders within public health system in WA, particularly older teens and young adults. 

“This Government has made a significant investment in supporting community-based services for adults and children who are experiencing eating disorders,” she said. 

“Research has shown that the best way to support people and their families experiencing eating disorders is through a mix of hospital-based acute services and community-based services. 

“While the Framework is being developed, the State Government is continuing to invest in treatment services for people with eating disorders, including the expansion of a WA Eating Disorder State-wide Service. 

“The framework will determine immediate priority areas and will focus on any additional services that are required in WA and will align with the National Eating Disorder Strategy.” 

The State Government has secured an additional $8.56 million from the Commonwealth for a third State-wide multidisciplinary Eating Disorders Specialist Service to be based in the East Metropolitan Health Service area. 

As with other health conditions, those individuals from regional areas will be able to access services through existing mechanisms such as telehealth, the Patient Assisted Transport Scheme, facilitated through the new WA County Health Service Command Centre. 

The supporting documentation notes that referrals to some community services are required and highlighted the significant role to played by general practitioners, general hospitals, health professionals including psychiatrists, and other components of the WAEDSSs, including the area-based hubs. 

Current services available through WAEDSSs include: 

  • The Body Esteem Program 
  • Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI) 
  • Eating Disorder Families Australia 
  • Perth Children’s Hospital Child and Adolescent Mental health Service Eating Disorders Program (EDP) 
  • The Hollywood Clinic 
  • The Swan Centre 
  • The Western Australian Eating Disorders Outreach and Consultation Service