I developed anorexia nervosa after my 11th birthday. I lived with it and bulimia for over 40 years, struggling through phases of depression, self-harm and anxiety. Doctors and my family were telling me to "grow up", and wished I would be more like other girls in our town.
I know first-hand how gruelling eating disorders can be to live with, and the struggle involved in recovering and regaining your life. I know just how important it is to have urgent access to expert advice and support, when you hit those really low points. It was such professional support that helped save my life.
The massive contribution that professional help has made to my life is why I'm so concerned that in Australia there is still no 24/7 crisis support line to help men and women suffering from eating disorders. Often, the most challenging times are evenings, weekends and public holidays - but the current national Butterfly Foundation support line is only available during east coast office hours, Monday to Friday.
Eating disorders are now so prevalent that almost 1 in 10 Australians have been diagnosed. The risk of premature death for women with Anorexia Nervosa is up to twelve times higher than for the general population. Medical complications and suicide have been the main causes of premature death in ED sufferers, and 1 in 5 people with Anorexia Nervosa, who die prematurely, commit suicide1.
Please sign my petition, and join me in calling on the Federal Government and the Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, to urgently help make Butterfly’s crisis support line available to all Australians when they need it.
It's desperately needed to help prevent suffering:
“I'm struggling to stay on track... It's a vicious circle. I know I need to come clean and tell my psych and dietician, but, being Christmas, they are on holidays and I’m too scared to tell my husband. I’m also taking laxatives and diet pills. I don’t know how to stop and I can’t contact any professionals for three days. I’m depressed, out of control and very, very scared …”
June Alexander (http://www.junealexander.com/)
The Butterfly Foundation support line is 1800 ED HOPE or 1800 33 4673.