Professional Help & Support
There is no right way to seek help.
We strongly recommend that you open up to anyone you feel comfortable with - whether that is a friend, sibling, parent, carer, teacher, or other trusted adult. Talking to someone is better than talking to no one!
There are many professionals and people who can support you - you can try talking to your GP, school counselor, or other health professional if you like and trust them.
Support for yourself
You can’t tell how someone feels about their body, or whether someone has an eating disorder, by looking at them. However there are lots of warning signs that you can look out for in terms of the things that people are saying or what they are doing that might indicate that there is an issue that would benefit from support. The Mental Health First Aid Guidelines for Eating Disorders outline these warning signs in detail.
Support for a friend or
Body image concerns and eating disorders are serious psychological illnesses- people are not having these thoughts and feelings by choice, or to get attention, and they can’t just snap out of it. One of the best things that can happen, particularly early on in the piece, is for people to share their thoughts and concerns, and to open up about their behaviours. It is worth you asking questions, and talking to them. The Mental Health First Aid Guidelines for Eating Disorders provide detailed guidance on how to approach someone about their body image concerns or eating disorder. If you are in Australia, you can also call the Butterfly Foundation helpline on 1800 33 4673, email the Helpline, or use webchat to seek support in helping a friend or someone you know.
Links and Resources
Butterfly Foundation is Australia’s national charity for eating disorders and body image concerns, offering a wide range of resources, articles and support. If you or someone you know is experiencing an eating disorder or body image concerns you can call Butterfly’s National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (ED HOPE), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or chat online to counsellors via butterfly.org.au.
Butterfly’s support services are available to everyone 8am-Midnight 7 days a week. No matter what stage you or your loved one is at, their friendly counsellors who have specialist training in eating disorders and body image will be able to direct you through to resources that can help you or your loved one.
Butterfly also has a Referral Database which acts as a directory of professionals screened for an understanding of eating disorders and body image concerns so people Australia-wide can get help in recovering or caring for someone with an eating disorder or body image concerns.