ANZAED Conference: It takes more than a village

6 September 2023

The Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) Conference 2023, held successfully on the Gold Coast in August. The conference's overarching theme, ‘It takes more than a village,’ underscored the imperative for a well-coordinated approach to combat eating disorders.

Dr Di Stow attended the conference. Dr Stow was a member of the MBS Working Group on Eating Disorders, on behalf of PACFA and was involved in the ANZAED and the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) Credentialing in 2021-2022. ‘Despite the considerable challenges ahead, the event provided hope for the future for helping people recover from eating disorders and go on to live their best lives,’ she said.

The conference’s ‘more-than-a-village’ approach extends beyond specialist services to encompass all facets of mental health services. The Hon Emma McBride MP, Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, lauded the contributions of individuals with lived experiences, their families, and caregivers, acknowledging the gravity and complexities of addressing eating disorders within the healthcare system.

Minister McBride also highlighted the government's investments in research, early detection and treatment, exemplified by initiatives like ScreenED, which focuses on early diagnosis in children aged 5 to 12 years. The government has also implemented comprehensive training programs for healthcare professionals, specific Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items and community-based treatment services to bridge existing care gaps.

The government has thrown its support behind prevention programs, such as the Butterfly Foundation's Body Bright Program, and established an eClinic through the InsideOut Institute, ensuring nationwide access to digital therapies.

The ANZAED Conference not only offered hope to individuals grappling with eating disorders but also provided a roadmap to a brighter future. Ultimately, commitment, along with substantial government investments, will shape more promising prospects for those with eating disorders and those who care for them.

Read the full transcripts of Assistant Ministor Emma McBride’s speech here.