Media Release: Advocating for Continued Support on World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD)

Media Release: Advocating for Continued Support on World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD)

Date: 18/06/2024

World Eating Disorders Action Day Coincides with Queensland State Budget 2025. Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ), the state’s largest community support and treatment organisation for
those affected by eating disorders, marks World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD) with a significant event at the Queensland Parliament. This coincides with the release of the 2025 Queensland State Budget and the upcoming state election in October 2024.

About EDQ:
EDQ, funded by Queensland Health and a Commonwealth Government Grant, provides essential services to individuals, families, and carers affected by eating disorders. Our comprehensive support includes individual treatment, psychosocial support, coaching, and community connections, focusing on early intervention through education on a sustainable relationship with food and body image. We are dedicated to eradicating weight stigma and diet culture, aiming for a more inclusive and supportive healthcare environment.

World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD):
WEDAD is a grassroots movement designed to spread accurate information about eating disorders, shift public perceptions, and raise awareness of these serious, treatable mental health conditions. EDQ’s participation in WEDAD underscores our commitment to advocacy and education, highlighting the complexities of eating disorders and the necessity for informed support and treatment.

Key Advocacy Focus:
At this year’s WEDAD event, EDQ will highlight the pressing need for continued funding, particularly for our brief intervention/therapy for eating disorders (bITE) program. This program, essential for early intervention and managing waitlists, is at risk of discontinuing due to its commonwealth funding concluding in 2026. We urge the Queensland government to sustain this program, which has proven to be an economical, accessible, and effective solution for community-based treatment.

Alignment with Government Strategies:
Encouragingly, the 2025 QLD state budget includes a $247.9 million investment over 2027-28 to address gender-based health inequities, part of a broader $1 billion commitment to women’s health over the next five years. This investment aligns with EDQ’s data showing that 86.5% of our consumers identify as female, with 32.5% under the age of 25. Nationally, women are twice as likely to experience an eating disorder as men, with young women (15-19 years) being particularly vulnerable.

Prevalence and Impact:
In Queensland, an estimated 201,500 people were experiencing an eating disorder in 2019, representing approximately 4% of the population. Nationally, the prevalence of eating disorders in Australia has increased by 21% since 2012. This prevalence data correlates with EDQ’s service demand. EDQ has a 6–8-month waitlist for individual counselling, which continues to grow weekly from new inquiries. The financial cost of eating disorders in Australia was $20.8 billion in 2023, with additional non-financial costs bringing the total economic and social impact to $66.9 billion.

Economic Justification:
Investing in community-based eating disorder services is not only compassionate but also economically prudent. EDQ’s cost for a 3–6-month (135-day stay) treatment per client averages $1,342, equating to $9.94 per client per day. In contrast, the cost of a 28-day stay in a Queensland Health mental health facility is $34,356, or $1,227 per client per day. EDQ acknowledges that tertiary health care is crucial for addressing immediate and severe concerns, particularly during the renourishing phase and achieving medical stability. However, sustainable long-term recovery truly thrives within a community setting, like EDQ.

EDQ calls on the Queensland government to maintain our funding and support the bITE program post-2026. This support is vital for early intervention and reducing waitlists, ensuring EDQ can continue to provide essential services to those in need. We hope to see continued collaboration and inclusion in consultations for future funding opportunities to enhance our impact.

Media Contact: Belinda Chelius- CEO
07 3844 6055 | [email protected]

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