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Eating disorders

Carers and key supports

A person who provides regular care and support with the activities of daily life for someone experiencing an eating disorder, either in an unpaid (e.g. family) or paid (e.g. support worker) role

What is it?

As a carer or key support person for someone experiencing an eating disorder, you’re an important part of their care team. Increasing your understanding about eating disorders, learning new skills and strategies around communication, and managing your own emotions and expectations can assist you to effectively support your loved one and maintain your own wellbeing.

There are information resources, workshops, coaching and mentoring, practical assistance and support groups available for carers and supporters.

What can someone expect?

You may provide support to a family member, friend or someone you know but not think of yourself as their ‘carer’.

A carer or key support person can be anyone who provides regular care and support for someone experiencing an eating disorder. This might be an unpaid or informal role such as caring for a family member, partner or friend. You might also be supporting someone in a paid role if you are a support worker.

Information resources tailored for carers and key supports will cover types of eating disorders, signs of an eating disorder, types of services and supports available, navigating the system, and how you can support someone with an eating disorder.

As well as information resources, many services will offer online and/or in-person training workshops or coaching sessions specifically for carers to help them in their role.

Organisations may offer carer ‘peer’ support—connecting you with someone who has lived experience caring for a loved one with an eating disorder.

Who is this for?

As a carer or key support person for someone with an eating disorder, you may want to learn more about eating disorders or how you can support them. You may also want to access support or assistance to maintain your own wellbeing.

How can someone access it?

Eating Disorders Queensland (EDQ) provides a range of support programs and resources for carers and key supporters.

Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) is a national organisation providing support and education for carers and families impacted by eating disorders. EDFA’s website offers information, seminars, carer stories, support groups and social media forums. To join the support groups, you need to be an EDFA member for a small yearly membership fee.

The Butterfly Foundation provides information, online programs and support groups for those caring for someone with an eating disorder.

Online training and other tools tailored for carers and key supports are available through:

  • InsideOut—access a screening tool, search for eating disorders services and complete online training
  • LearnED—an e-learning platform by Eating Disorders Victoria
  • Shared Table—a meal support training program for carers developed by EDQ.
  • EducatED

These organisations provide support for carers that is not specific to eating disorders.

  • Carer Gateway is the Australian Government’s portal of access to carer support programs and services including counselling and practical assistance.
  • Carers Queensland is the peak body representing unpaid family and community carers in Queensland.
  • Arafmi supports carers and families of people living with mental illnesses.
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