The social and economic impact of the 914,000 Australians with eating disorders is estimated at $70 billion according to a report prepared by Deloitte Access Economics for the Butterfly Foundation.
The report, entitled Paying the Price: economic and social impact of eating disorders, is the first of its kind in Australia and identifies the prevalence, financial costs and the impact on productivity and society of those suffering from the mental illnesses which lead to eating disorders. Mortality rates are estimated to be twice as high as the general population.
The CEO of the Butterfly Foundation, Christine Morgan, said the estimates are likely to be conservative.
The Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, said eating disorders are an important mental health issue and announced a $1.9 government grant to the Butterfly Foundation to expand and extend the Foundation's support and advice services. A further $150,000 has been allocated to the Butterfly Foundation to identify possible improved coordination of programs and services regardless of who provides them.
“Getting the right information and support at the right time is critical for people with eating disorders, their families and carers and we need services to be more collaborative and better integrated to make sure that’s happening.”
Mr Butler said the Government was committed to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) which brings together eating disorder experts in research, education, health promotion, public health and mental health, as well as media.
“The NEDC has brought a national focus on how to better prevent and treat eating disorders in Australia and this extension will allow our best experts to continue this excellent and necessary work in an area of critical importance.”
For further information on the work of the Butterfly Foundation, visit www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au