What To Do If You Can’t Afford Support for Your Eating Disorder

When it comes to fighting eating disorders there’s one thing we know for sure: none of us can win the battle on our own. For you it might mean relying on people you can trust like your family and close friends. It could mean interacting with a community of support on Instagram or Facebook. Or you may turn to God or a higher power for the strength you don’t feel you have.

Everyone’s recovery journey is different. Yours may include some or all of these supports. We believe in finding what works for you and sticking with it.

In our experience, getting professional help from a doctor, dietitian and psychologist was one of the most positive decisions we made.

But making that decision isn’t always easy. And when you don’t have money just lying around to spend on appointments with health professionals (does anyone?), it can feel like there’s no help available.

Thankfully, that’s not the case.

Here in Australia, your financial situation doesn’t exclude you from getting support for your eating disorder. There are low-cost and free services available, and we’ve rounded up some of the best.

The Butterfly Foundation

If you think you may have an eating disorder your very first stop should be The Butterfly Foundation. They are a national support service that provides free counselling, advice and online support groups. No matter where you live in Australia, The Butterfly Foundation can help.

You can get free short-term counselling and advice by calling The Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673 (Monday–Friday 8am to 9pm AEST), using their live webchat service or emailing support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au.

The Butterfly Foundation run four separate online support groups: two for people with an eating disorder, one for parents and adult carers, and one for siblings and young carers. Read more about their free online support groups here. 

The Butterfly Foundation run face-to-face services in Sydney. Call 1800 33 4673 (Monday–Friday 8am to 9pm AEST) or email support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au to find out more.

Other Free Services

A lot of public hospitals and government-run facilities have eating disorder teams who treat people for free. In NSW, the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Westmead Hospital, the Centre for Psychotherapy, the Central Coast Eating Disorders Outpatient Service and John Hunter Hospital all offer free services.

The National Eating Disorder Collaboration’s database can help you find a service in your area.

Got a question not covered here?

We’ve said it many times before: we’re not experts. If you still have a question we recommend talking to your GP or contacting The Butterfly Foundation.

The government also provides helpful information here.

But we understand it can be daunting to speak to anyone about having an eating disorder, especially a professional you’ve never met. While we can’t (and won’t) offer any kind of medical advice, if you want to contact us we’ll listen to your worries and fears and do our best to help connect you with someone who can help.