Insights in Recovery Guide
30 November 2016


Advice from more than 100 Australians who have experienced an eating disorder on what aided their recovery has been captured in a new resource for clinicians.

Insights in Recovery: A consumer-informed guide for health practitioners working with people with eating disorders was developed by the Butterfly Foundation with funding from the Mental Health Commission of NSW.

Researchers used online surveys and focus groups to gather feedback from people with lived experience of eating disorders about what helped and hindered their recovery. They then translated these into a guide that aims to help health professionals of all kinds adopt a person-centred, recovery-oriented approach when working with people with anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders.

“People living with eating disorders have often reported that their illness is received with impatience, lack of understanding and even fear,” said NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley.

“Clinicians too often express a lack of confidence in their own knowledge and training in how to assist people with eating disorders.

“This resource provides clinicians a rich window into what recovery means for people living with eating disorders, and how they can help individuals in that journey.”

Researchers found individuals wanted health professionals to discuss with them what recovery entails; help them to feel safe; use mindful language; discover who they are beyond the eating disorder; and connect them with healthy supports in everyday life. 

People also wanted support in making safe choices, talking about their eating disorder, and for clinicians to be open to learning about eating disorders with them.

CEO of the Butterfly Foundation Christine Morgan said that with almost a million Australians living with an eating disorder and only 27% accessing treatment, health professionals need to do all they can to support recovery.

“People who have walked the path of recovery from an eating disorder have a lot to teach us about how we could help others return to physical and mental health, and we’ve captured that expertise in this resource.”

The Insights in Recovery resource was developed with input from an Expert Advisory Group that included eating disorder clinicians, researchers and people with lived experience. Further detail on how the guide was developed can be found in an accompanying report, Insights in Recovery: An overview of the research project informing the Insights in Recovery Guide for practitioners working with people with eating disorders.


Media enquiries:
Erin O’Loughlin, Mental Health Commission of NSW
E: | P: 02 9859 5237 | M: 0477 763 909

About the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales
The Mental Health Commission of NSW was established under the Mental Health Commission Act 2012 and came into operation on 1 July 2012. The Commission is an independent statutory authority established with the purpose of monitoring, reviewing and improving the mental health system and the mental health and wellbeing of the people of NSW. In all its work the Commission aims to reflect the experience of people who live with mental illness, their families and carers.

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Last updated: 24 June 2017