Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV) have launched an online tool to aid early intervention in eating and exercise disorders. how far is too far provides clear and practical information for friends and families, fitness professionals, teachers and school staff, and individuals seeking support for themselves. The information is based on the early warning signs of eating and exercise disorders. A useful location map helps site-users find support, such as counsellors, in their area. EDV are aiming to improve early intervention within Victoria. Jennifer Beveridge, CEO of EDV describes the motivation behind the cause as “helping people want to get help.”
At the launch for how far is too far, Martin Foley, Minister for Mental Health said that “in 2012 one-million Australians were affected by a serious mental health issue” and in relation to body image disorders that “70% of adolescent girls have suffered from body dissatisfaction.” This statistic is important but should not distract people from the fact that people from all ages and across both genders suffer from eating and exercise disorders. Beveridge said that “two children can grow up side-by-side and it’s impossible to predict who will be susceptible to an eating disorder.”
Speaking with Beveridge about the purpose and importance of early intervention – the premise the online tool is based upon – ignited further questioning around the causes of eating and exercise disorders. Beveridge said that “a variety of different factors contribute to the onset of eating and exercise disorders” but that essentially “they don’t know what the causes are.” We are surrounded by ceaseless information about eating organic; sugar-free diets, gluten-free options, veganism, vegetarianism, the importance of exercise and so on. “These enforcements can be harmful to some people whose behaviour becomes too extreme or obsessive” said Beveridge. A tool such as how far is too far is a positive move forward for mental health support, and exposure of the warning signs. But what about the causes?