$5m funds for eating disorders research

The Australian government is providing $5 million for ground-breaking research into the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of eating disorders.

Around one million Australians live with an eating disorder. They are extremely complex illnesses and have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric condition.

The two projects funded under the initiative include a specific focus on using digital solutions to prevent the onset of eating disorders, and transforming the health system to enable earlier intervention so that individuals have the best chance of recovery.

The first project, ‘The Mainstream Centre for Health System Research & Translation in Eating Disorders: Detection and intervention system-focused knowledge to drive better outcomes in mainstream care for eating disorders’, will receive $3.67 million. This is led by Dr Sarah Maguire from the University of Sydney InsideOut Institute.

The second is the Deakin University project, ‘Leveraging digital technology to reduce the prevalence and severity of eating disorders in Australia’, which will receive $1.34 million. This is led by Associate Professor Matthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz.

The two projects are among the first initiatives of the Morrison government’s $125 million ‘Million Minds Mission’, which aims to enrol one million additional people in new mental health trials and programs.

“We’re investing $110 million to extend Medicare coverage for eating disorders, and $70.2 million to establish residential treatment centres around the country as part of our record $736.6 million investment in mental health,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

“Only the Coalition has delivered a comprehensive mental health plan which expands youth headspace sites, establishes new adult health centres, and backs research with annual mental health funding of $4.8 billion.”

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