The Child and Adolescent Day Program for Eating Disorders opens

Illawarra teens who are battling an eating disorder will have a better chance at treatment with the announcement of the state’s first ‘’in-community’’ – or out of hospital – treatment facility.

The Child and Adolescent Day Program for Eating Disorders has been welcomed by Illawarra residents who have long fought for better services for regional areas.

The program offers up to 12 young people at any one time, funded accommodation so they can access the day program based in Crowes Nest at Butterfly House. 

The Day Program already has an 85 per cent success rate with 101 young people having entered the program since it opened.

Butterfly Foundation Chairman David Murray said the program will help young people struggling with eating disorders, by taking them out of a hospital setting and placing them at the centre of comprehensive in-community treatment.

“It should be the case that anyone with an eating disorder has immediate access to proper treatment and care, that is person-centred, flexible and available where they live from an expertly trained workforce,’’ Mr Murray said.

‘’We are committed to working with our partners to rectify a serious shortage of capacity across Australia.

‘’It is the perfect marriage of NSW’s clinical expertise in eating disorders with Butterfly’s approach to treatment, support and care,” Mr Murray said.

“The Day Program is particularly valuable for young people from regional and rural areas, as it gives them a chance to access best-practice treatment that would otherwise be very difficult to get.’’

Butterfly CEO Christine Morgan said this ‘’lived-experience approach’’ gives young people the ability to face their mental illness in an environment that is safe, supportive and nurturing’’ – while getting access to the internationally recognised clinical expertise at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and the Butterfly Foundation.

The Program is designed to feel like a “home-away-from-home”  with a fundamental focus on the important role of family as the centre of the treatment strategy, she said.

Eating disorder live-in option

Looking up: Rebekah McAlinden says the new progam for rural and regional people with eating disorders will save lives.

Looking up: Rebekah McAlinden says the new progam for rural and regional people with eating disorders will save lives.

Illawarra woman Rebekah McAlinden says she feels ‘’so grateful’’ the Butterfly Foundation has joined with the Sydney Children's Hospital Network to provide a new treatment facility for children and young adults struggling with eating disorders.

‘’More and more people are seeking treatment and needing care and management of their eating disorders, and this program will be highly valuable,’’ said Ms McAlinden, who moved to Sydney for treatment.

‘’As someone who previously lived in a rural area and who was unable to receive the necessary treatment for my eating disorder because of the travel and costs required, I believe the facility will be particularly beneficial for those in a similar situation,’’ she said.

‘’This facility will be a life-saver to many people.’’