Today the Mental Health Commissioner spoke at the Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders Annual Conference on the Gold Coast.
"Given the magnitude of the problem of eating disorders in Australia, in terms of both its social and economic cost, we must take care to ensure we do not concentrate our focus and investment solely on acute clinical and treatment services.
"While it is vital that the appropriate mix of clinical and other support services are available when and where they are needed — our best opportunity to make a meaningful difference is through increasing awareness, and using prevention and early intervention strategies to reduce the onset, the duration and the severity of eating disorders.
"Despite the high prevalence of eating disorders in Australia, there is still a low level of understanding in our community about eating disorders and mental illness, with a number of misleading and damaging myths still prevalent in our communities.
"Part of our energy must focus on dispelling these myths by improving the understanding of mental health and eating disorders among the community, which will not only lead to a more aware and accepting community but will pave the way to prevent and intervene as early as possible when issues arise.
"Improving community awareness will also serve to reduce stigma and promote help seeking."
Download the full speech (PDF, 254 KB)