A Message to all Parents and Carers
Carers and families play an instrumental role in supporting and caring for a loved one living with an Eating Disorder. A carer may be a parent, child, sibling, grandparent, partner, friend, neighbour, or other individual in the person’s life. Carers are an essential but often overlooked component
of the health care system and require support and assistance to effectively carry out their role.
The impact of an eating disorder is not only felt by the sufferer, it is also felt by a sufferers’ entire family and circle of support. The impact may lead to caregiver stress, loss of family income, disruption to family relationships and a high suicide risk for the sufferer.
I have first-hand experience of the initial shock and trauma of caring for a loved one for an eating disorder. When my eldest daughter was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa a number of years’ ago, our family was desperate for information and support, and we found it very difficult to source.
Our health system is very focused (as it should be) on supporting the health of a sufferer. However, there is also a real need in our community to support the carers. Carers are an integral part of the team required to support an eating disorder sufferer on their journey to recovery. EDFA plays a vital role in providing support and education to carers.
EDFA has an incredible group of volunteers who are making a real difference in the lives of many carers and their families. All of our peer support volunteers have lived experience. I am constantly amazed at how our volunteers and our members support and educate each other through their lived experience. Our volunteers and members go the extra mile to make sure families and carers get the support they need and deserve because we know how frightening, confusing, distressing and exhausting caring for a loved one with an eating disorder is.
Carers’ needs and preferences for support vary, though may include information and knowledge, skills-based training, financial support, community-based support, co-ordination or case management services, advocacy training and services, assistance to overcome barriers to paid employment, and support for physical and psychological wellbeing.
Whilst we cannot cover all these needs, EDFA has three key programs to support carers: operating a national network of strive support groups for carers accessible to both city and regional communities; running carer eating disorder education sessions accessible to both city and regional communities; and through a training program of clinicians and advocacy, promoting a treatment modality known as ‘temperament based training with supports (TBT-S)’.
The name strive stands for support, teach, reassure, inform, validate and empower. This very much represents what EDFA stands for.
Finally, EDFA is a not for profit lived-experience volunteer supported organisation, where we fundraise to support the delivery of our programs. Without the generous financial support of our members and donors we would not be able to provide the support we do. On behalf of EDFA, I would like to thank our members and donors for their continuing support.
Eating Disorders Families Australia