By Beth Shelton, President, Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED)
Eating disorders affect more than 3 million Australians and 400,000 New Zealanders of all genders, ages, nationalities, abilities, sizes, and racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
These serious, treatable illnesses result from a complex interplay of genetics, biology and environment and have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Yet despite new research and treatments increasingly showing positive results, many people are not receiving adequate care.
On World Eating Disorders Action Day on June 2, ANZAED has a message for Australian and New Zealand medical and mental health professionals, parents, educators and general community:
- Don’t “watch and wait” with eating disorders.
- Getting treatment early gives a person the best chance of recovery.
- If there are signs of an eating disorder, refer the person immediately to a qualified medical and/or mental health professional with expertise in eating disorders.
- Eating disorders affect girls and women, and increasingly, also boys and men.
- A pro-active, whole of community response to helping sufferers get the treatment they need will make a real difference to the likelihood of full recovery.
ANZAED also joins with the global eating disorder community, including sufferers and their families, professionals, researchers and policy makers, in calls to increase access to accurate information, eradicate myths and collectively advocate for resources and policy change.
Join Beth and ANZAED in supporting World Eating Disorders Action Day. Be sure to follow along on Twitter @WorldEDDay and hashtag #WeDoAct, #WorldEDActionDay, @WorldEatingDisordersAction on Instagram and World Eating Disorders Action Day on Facebook.