Herald Sun Editorial – Eating Disorders

One of the most drastic side effects of pandemic lockdowns was the dramatic rise of patients, mostly teenage girls, with eating disorders.

Last year, when 15-year-old Olivia Evans died with anorexia, her father Robb made an impassioned plea.

“We need to get some change,” he said. “We can’t lose another of these beautiful girls.” Much had been made of government promises to address the tragic issue. But it seems that resourcing shortfalls are still jeopardising vulnerable lives.

On Tuesday, the Herald Sun reported that underfunding at Monash Children’s Hospital meant that children were being admitted for help only once they were near death.

Last year, Monash Health was due to overhaul and expand its eating disorder treatments in the hope of reducing the 40 per cent readmission rate after discharge. Given the media attention, and bipartisan political goodwill, it’s disappointing that governments have been unable to find the resources for such important treatment.

Late in 2022, the head of adolescent medicine at Monash, Dr Jacinta Coleman, described an 85 per cent rise in demand in the past two years.

She said staff at Monash, and three other teenage eating disorder clinics in Victoria, were overwhelmed by the numbers.

Goldstein MP Zoe Daniel is right when she says governments must stop blaming one another and find solutions before more families are devastated.

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