Eating disorder services for young people in Australia: review of service availability and barriers to access

Poster A26, Monday, October 8, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Brittany Cole1,2, Helen Nicoll1, Jay Carmichael1; 1Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, 2The University of Melbourne

The present service system for young people with eating disorders in Australia is significantly lacking in its ability to respond early and effectively. With only 22% of all young people experiencing eating disorders accessing services throughout their illness, it is critical that the service system is strengthened so young people can more easily access the care they urgently require. This project reviewed the latest evidence on eating disorders including epidemiology, psychiatric comorbidity, aeitiology, risk and protective factors, and early intervention. The current service landscape was investigated, focusing on available services and present barriers to access. This involved reviewing evidence and consulting with stakeholders within the field. Limited eating disorder services for young people exist and access is often restricted by workforce capabilities, cost, and stigma. Recommendations based on these findings were developed to guide Orygen’s future work. The recommendations relate to future research opportunities, the translation of research to increase clinical workforce capabilities, and prospective collaborations. Eating disorders are extremely complex, requiring multidisciplinary care in a coordinated way. This study has revealed the need to reconsider the current service design, integrating eating disorder care and consequently improving access and availability for young people in Australia.

Topic Area: Eating Disorders

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