FUND A SPECIALIST EATING DISORDER IN-PATIENT TREATMENT CENTRE IN CANBERRA.

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SIGN MY PETITION so that young girls and women don't have to travel interstate to get life-saving treatment! In 2014, I spent 6 months in hosptial in Sydney away from my friends and family to get the life-saving treatment that I needed, and my experience is not uncommon!

Currently, the number of people in Australia with an eating disorder at any given time is estimated to be approximately nine percent of the population;[1] of this, 64% are estimated to be female. Approximately 15% of women will experience an eating disorder at some point during their lifetime.

As of March 2017, Canberra’s population was 409,100.[2] Using the above statistics, it can be estimated that, at any given time, 36,819 people in Canberra are suffering from an eating disorder. 23,564 of these people are female. 7364 people are likely to die. This shouldn’t be surprising considering eating disorders are the 3rd most common chronic illness, and the second most common cause of mental illness, in young women in Australia.

“The mortality rate for people with eating disorders is the highest of all psychiatric illnesses and over 12 times that seen in people without eating disorders.”[3] This is due to both medical complications and increased risk of suicide; Anorexia Nervosa has the highest associated rate of suicide of any mental illness, including depression.[4] Under the current health care system, less than half (46%) of people diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa in Australia fully recover.

It should be noted that these statistics do not account for the frequent under-reporting and under-treatment of eating disorders.

Despite this, both the public and private health care systems for eating disorders in the ACT are considerably lacking. Currently there are no inpatient services for eating disorder treatment in Canberra,[5] and while there is a public outpatient support program, the wait to be seen by this team was an estimated 8 weeks/2 months (May 2017). 

Consequently, many young people, disproportionately young women, around Canberra are not receiving necessary and life-saving health care treatment.

The ACT Government expressed a commitment to promoting the recovery of people with a mental disorder or mental illness, in the Mental Health Care Act 2015 (ACT). If they are truly committed to this, it must include ALL people with a mental illness, including the young women of Canberra.

As such, we urge the ACT Governemnt to create a specialist eating disorder in-patient treatment centre in Canberra.



[1] http://www.nedc.com.au/eating-disorders-in-australia
[2] Census
[3] http://www.nedc.com.au/eating-disorders-in-australia
[4] http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/expanding-medicaresupported-treatment-for-eating-disorder-patients-20170507-gvzz0r.html
[5] Current list of inpatient services around Australia: http://www.nedc.com.au/inpatient?tagid=&servicetype=inpatient&population=Adult



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