What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders manifest in different ways: episodic loss of behavioral control (binge eating), a constant desire to monitor and restrict access to food (anorexia) or through a binge/purge cycle of eating (bulimia). The severity of an eating disorder can vary, and often is mistaken for different forms of eating habits rather than an unhealthy relationship with food resulting from psychological and emotional stress. Because of social myths about eating disorders, people often don’t think of themselves as experiencing one unless they are incredibly skinny, have stopped eating entirely, or are purging after every meal. Similarly, binge-eating disorder is often specifically associated with being “over-weight” and stigmatized as a matter of poor self-control. For many people with an eating disorder, the thought of reaching out to others is accompanied by a fear of not being taken seriously, or of being taken seriously and subsequently losing control of their decisions.

There are services available that are trained in responding to people with eating disorders appropriately. There are also support groups where people can talk to each other about their similar experiences. If you feel you are unable to control your eating, or that your life is being taken over by obsessive monitoring of food consumption, it’s worth reaching out to a support group or service for help and advice. Remember that you don’t need to be in a state of emergency to ask for help.

Support is available for everyone, ranging from people who eat regularly but experience uncomfortable and/or distressing emotions regarding food, to those who require emergency services. Eating disorders can also cause on-going physical health problems, so it is always a good idea to see a GP for a check up.

Support services in Victoria:

  1. Butterfly Foundation
    1430 Malvern Road Glen Iris VIC 3146
    PO Box 7026 Glen Iris VIC 3146
    Phone: (03) 9822 5771
    website: https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au
  2. Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV)
    The Eating Disorders Victoria is a non-profit organisation which aims to support those affected by eating disorders and to better inform the community about disordered eating. The EDV helpline operates from Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm.
    Telephone: 1300 550 236
    Website: www.eatingdisorders.org.au
    Email: help@eatingdisorders.org.au
  3. Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria (EDV)
    Location: Collingwood Football Club Community Centre
    Level 2 Corner Lulie & Abbot Streets Abbotsford, Vic 3067
    Email: help@eatingdisorders.org.au
    Telephone Number: 1300 550 236
    Website: www.eatingdisorders.org.au
  4. Eating Disorders Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital
     2nd Level John Cade Building, Grattan Street, Parkville, VIC, 3052 03 9342 4033 03 9342 8483 www.mh.org.au
  5. Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED)
     Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders, The Royal Melbourne Hospital- Royal Park Campus, Building 5, 34-54 Poplar Road, Parkville, VIC, 3052 03 8387 2669 ceed@mh.org.au http://www.ceed.org.au

Counselling and Psychiatric Services Unimelb

This service is free for unimelb staff and students.

Location: Level 5, 757 Swanston Street (stop 1), Parkville Campus
Disabled access: at the rear of 757 Swanston Street (North-West side)

Hours:
Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm
Wednesday: 9am-6pm during semester

Phone: +61 3 8344 6927

Website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/counsel

Anxiety support group:

Anxiety support group is run every second Tuesday at 4:15pm, Training Room 1 Union House. It is a quiet, safe space to talk about anxiety issues confidentially.

Mental wellness support group:

Mental wellness support group runs on alternative Tuesdays with anxiety support group, in the same time and space. It’s a confidential space to talk about neurodivergent and navigating study, work and relationships.

SEDS & Advocacy:

If you have anxiety, it is a good idea to apply for ongoing special consideration early on, in case you need it.

If you are having trouble applying and are unable to contact SEDS, or if you need support clearing up issues with the university that have already happened, Advocacy offer support in advocating for yourself, as well as understanding the legal and administrative processes involved.

You can also contact us, or come in during our office hours, with any questions you may have about SEDS and any coursework issues you might have. We are open 11am-6pm Mon-Thurs, on level one Union House (across from stop one and near the stairs).

online resources:

http://www.reachoutandrecover.com.au/ (online interactive tool)

http://www.nedc.com.au/helplines

http://www.nedc.com.au/nedc-resources

http://eatingdisordersinfo.org.au/

http://www.nedc.com.au/services-and-support-organisations