News and Collaborations

EDFA is proud to be involved in a number of initiatives in the last few months, particularly as presentations of eating disorders increase and a record number of people seek support and treatment. 

EDFA has partnered with Carer Gateway, to help ensure carers supporting a loved one with an eating disorder receive the support and assistance they need. 

The collaboration will ensure families and carers of loved ones with an eating disorder access tailored support services through EDFA and broader support services available through Carer Gateway

Carer Gateway is a tax-funded program for carers, which offers a range of support services in each State and Territory through a network of Carer Gateway Services Providers.

To connect with a local service provider in your area, contact the Carer Gateway national Helpline on 1800 422 737 or visit their website to find out more. 

Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week

To mark Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week (BIEDAW), EDFA’s Christine Naismith and parent and EDFA member Carrie were part of an ABC radio interview on the growing increase in Eating Disorders, and the lack of services in regional areas of Victoria. You can listen to the podcast here.

Also for Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week, members of the Eating Disorder Alliance of Australia – which includes EDFA, Butterfly, Eating Disorders Queensland, and Eating Disorders Victoria – came together to celebrate BIEDAW

Body Awareness Week

 EDFA shared content throughout the week across our channels, and hosted a free educational webinar for health professionals alongside HAES   Australia about the HAES (Health at Every Size) movement which respects body diversity and inclusive healthcare. For information on this event, and for further details on BIEDAW head here. 

Christine Naismith and her daughter Ash also joined the Butterfly Foundation’s new podcast about ‘Teens and Body Image: Starting at Home’. You can listen to the podcast here.

RU Okay Day

Members of the EDFA team also collaborated with The Butterfly FoundationEating Disorders QueenslandEating Disorders Foundation of Victoria to give some tips to help people support someone who has an eating disorder  together to film an inspiring video for RU Okay Day.

Good News for the ACT

In wonderful news for ACT residents, the ACT Government has agreed to cover the $25 EDFA membership fee for anyone living in ACT (via the ACT Health Directorate), so they have access to all the educational and support opportunities that EDFA brings to members. We will adjust our membership and renewal payment process for those of you in ACT, to allow this free membership while the funding lasts (over the next 12 months).

Please let any ACT families you know, who are caring for a loved one with an eating disorder to join EDFA and that the cost will be covered by your Government. Also please share this information with your Clinicians and Care teams, so they can let others know of this opportunity.

We thank the ACT Government for supporting local families to access EDFA membership and in doing so, for recognising the value in connecting, learning, sharing knowledge and support from the lived experience perspective.

Research Round-Up

EDFA has recently established a Research Committee; to encourage, support and promote participation in eating disorder research projects nationally and internationally. 

EDFA’s upcoming new project aims to evaluate the experience of participating in strive support groups for caregivers of individuals with an eating disorder. We will be focusing on evaluating the effectiveness of strive support groups in achieving their mission goals, and obtaining participants’ personal experiences of and satisfaction with the group.

Research Committee

temperament based therapy for anorexia in adults and adolescents

Dr Andrea Phillipou, Chair, Research Committee, Swinburne Univerisity

Professor Isabel Krug, Melbourne University

Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin, Deakin University

Dr Sarah Giles, Swinburne University

Dr Aviva Lefkovits, Melbourne University 



EDFA would like to acknowledge and thank Helen Searle, our strive Program Manager for her significant contribution to creating and growing our strive Carer Support program over the last three years.

Helen joined EDFA when we had just one Parent/Carer Support Group running in Melbourne and was given the task of creating a scalable and sustainable support group model to help all Australian carers of people living with eating disorders.

Utilising Helen’s wealth of experience in the Corporate and NFP sector, and knowledge of the eating disorder sector through her work with Butterfly Foundation, Alfred Eating Disorder Service, Eating Disorders Victoria and involvement with CEED as well as her lived experience of being a parent of a loved one with an eating disorder, EDFA now has a well-developed Carer support program in place, branded ‘strive’ for Support, Teach, Reassure, Inform, Validate and Empower.

With Helen’s leadership, our face-to-face groups proceeded in Melbourne, Bendigo and Perth and then were converted to the online format when Covid-19 restrictions meant we could no longer gather in person. strive facilitators and Facebook moderators have been recruited and trained by Helen and these volunteers are an important part of our strive Carer support program.

EDFA now offers monthly online strive Carer support groups in every state and territory of Australia, as well as our National Carer groups strive ARFID, strive Bulimia, strive Binge Eating and strive4Men (supporting our male parents, partners and carers).

Helen has been instrumental in creating these safe and caring communities for connection, shared learning, hope and optimism, while understanding the importance of validating each parent or carer’s own experience and encouraging the need for self-care too.

EDFA have been fortunate to have such a talented, dedicated, passionate and generous Manager at the helm of our strive program. Helen will be winding down her duties with EDFA over the coming months, having successfully established a comprehensive and supportive program for parents and carers of people living with eating disorders. Helen will continue to assist with some of our specialty strive support groups for a while, but we would like to acknowledge and honour the lasting legacy she has created for EDFA and our members since 2018. Thank you so much Helen. 


EDFA is proud to introduce our new team members.

Caroline Towers strive Australia EDFACaroline Towers, strive Project Manager Caroline is a mum of two, and her daughter (now 23) was diagnosed with Anorexia ten years ago. Caroline volunteered for EDFA when the strive support groups were first established, and has also participated as a lived experience carer in other industry forums. Caroline is very passionate about the important role of carers in the recovery journey and believes support, compassion, knowledge and shared optimism can make each day just that bit easier.

Caroline’s professional career was in Human Resources, and she brings those skills and capabilities to the strive role. In recent years, she has been fortunate to pursue another passion by volunteering and working with the elderly in community and aged care settings.

Caroline is inspired by all EDFA  has achieved to date and the work it does every single day in providing support and education for carers, and looks forward to meeting everyone and helping to make a difference for as many carers as possible.

Dr Andrea Phillipou joins the board of EDFAAndrea Phillipou, Board Member Andrea is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Mental Health at Swinburne University, and holds honorary positions in the psychiatry departments at St Vincent’s Hospital and the Austin Hospital. She leads the Swinburne Anorexia Nervosa (SWAN) Research Group, and the Body Image & Eating Disorders Research Portfolio at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Having had a family member with anorexia nervosa who did not survive the illness, Andrea is very passionate about the work undertaken at EDFA to support carers and family. She is proud to act as a board member, and chair EDFA’s research committee.

Jo-Lise Finn, Website Designer Jo-Lise joined EDFA as a volunteer in June 2020 after reading a Facebook post asking for a website content writer. A few months later, Jo-Lise created and launched the current EDFA website.

Jo had taken some time off work from her career in Digital Marketing to care for her daughter who was struggling with Anorexia Nervosa. When her daughter was first diagnosed, Jo felt like she was stumbling in the dark. Though the eating disorder journey is not over for her family, through EDFA, they have found a community to lean on, learn from and escape to.


Alex Kisilevich, Project Support Alex joined as a volunteer in January 2020. With a background in Public Health, and particular interest in Mental Health, Alex was thrilled to find an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of families. Alex is now working part time for EDFA, supporting the team across the various projects

strive Carer Support Update

EDFA’s strive Carer support program is now running in every state and territory of Australia, offering monthly online support groups to all our members as well as specialty groups for carers of those with ARFIDBulimiaBinge Eating Disorder and our strive4Men for male carers.

EDFA Board Director Christine Naismith and strive Program Manager Helen Searle presented a poster at this year’s ANZAED conference for Clinicians, showing the evolution and growth of our strive program. 

As can be seen by the maps below, our reach has grown dramatically since Covid restrictions meant we had to develop an online program, rather than the face-to-face meetings we were planning to continue. 

It is so pleasing to see how much we have grown and achieved in a relatively short time and that our online strive  support and EDFA education programs have taken off in such a positive way.

The feedback from attendees has been extremely positive, so we encourage anyone who has not yet come along to a strive meeting to ‘give it a go’ and connect with others who understand what you are going through

strive reach EDFA

Due to popular demand, our quarterly strive ARFID Carer support group is now running monthly on 4th Thursday each month. 

strive Binge Eating commenced in September with Butterfly lived experience spokesperson Sam Ikin, dietician Helen Dean, Maria Ganci & Helen Searle supporting the group. 

strive Binge Eating will join the quarterly rotation with our strive Bulimia and strive4Men groups.

EDFA Events

In August and September EDFA held two lived experience ‘Stories of Hope’ sessions with two mothers who talked about their journeys as caregivers, and their two daughters, who spoke about their experience of living with an eating disorder. 

Our second ‘Stories of Hope‘ session was presented by three ladies who had all experienced long-term eating disorders.  The sessions were insightful, moving and provided hope that recovery is possible for everyone with an eating disorder!

On the 19th August, Silke Herwald, NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapist, presented a fascinating and informative session on neuro-linguistic programming, mind training and hypnotherapy in eating disorder recovery. One of the many takeaways from the session was that we all have the power within ourselves to change our brains. 

On the 16th September, EDFA members had the privilege of participating in a two-hour workshop presented by UK author, carer coach, creator of global ED resources and workshop facilitator Eva Musby. The workshop provided carers with an array of practical skills and wisdom alongside a strong message of connection, kindness and compassion for our loved ones and ourselves. Watch the recording here 

On the 7th October we heard from Helen Dean, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Counsellor and Family Based Therapist about the role of the dietitian in the eating disorder care team. A very helpful and informative session for all carers, followed by a comprehensive question and answer session.

EDFA’s education and information session recordings are accessible for financial members via the Member Only Access area of the website.

Upcoming Events

We are very proud to be offering a fabulous line-up of upcoming education and information events for the remainder of 2021.

  • Siblings Support Group (Thursday 14 October, 7.30-9pm AEDT) brings a special Music & Song writing session for siblings aged 10 to adult with Dr Jennifer Bibb and Masters of Music Therapy student, Hannah Murphy of Melbourne University
  • Millie Thomas, Lived Experience Recovery Coach, NLP Practitioner and ED Advocate (Thursday 21 October, 8:00-9:30pm AEDT) shares her story, tips, tools and strategies for carers
  • Emotions, Spirituality and Psychedelic Medicine relevant to Eating Disorders (Saturday 6 November, 10am-12pm AEDT) by Dr Adele Lafrance,  US Clinical Psychologist, Research Scientist, Author & co-creator of emotion focused treatment modalities, including EFFT and leader in the research and practice of psychedelic medicine.  Don’t miss out on hearing about this groundbreaking research. Book here 

The Zoom meeting links for all EDFA’s education sessions are accessible via the Member Only Resources section of the website here.

Details for access to Siblings Support Group are here.

You can register here to receive an email reminder on the day of the Education Session of your choice, which will include the Zoom link.


Become a member of EDFA for $25 per year (Australian Carers Only)

EDFA is a proud not-for-profit, predominantly volunteer-run organisation. 

We invite you to be part of a revolutionary peer support group making positive changes in the eating disorder space. Strength in numbers means we are able to affect change and have the collective voice of the carers recognised.

We provide opportunities to connect with other parents and carers who share your experiences, helping you to feel less alone and isolated.

Yearly membership is just $25.

Membership gives access to:

A range of resources in our Member Only section of the website including Educational Recordings, Member Recommended Clinicians and Services, and more.

Over 70 support groups and education sessions per year. including:

Twice monthly education sessions

strive Carer Support Groups for carers of loved ones with any type of eating disorder (run three times each month)

strive ARFID Carer Support Group (run monthly)

strive bulimia nervosa Carer Support Group (run quarterly)

strive binge eating disorder Carer Support Group (run quarterly) 

strive4Men Carer Support Group (run quarterly) – a group for male carers 

siblings Support Group (run monthly) – a group for siblings of those with an eating disorder

daily online support through our private strive Australia Facebook Group and the opportunity to connect, share, learn and ask questions is another benefit of being part of our EDFA community.

discounts to eating disorder events and conferences

Your membership helps EDFA with ongoing costs of running a not-for-profit organisation, and importantly, shows Government that families value, need and believe in this type of lived experience support. Strength in numbers helps EDFA lobby as the collective voice of carers for  better services, treatments, access to expert clinicians and specialised eating disorder units, to help our loved ones in their recovery journey and to acknowledge the impact of an eating disorder diagnosis on the entire family unit.