Australian families are showing ‘Ed’ the door. Parents and carers from every state and territory will head for Brisbane next month, to attend our nation’s first eating disorder conference for carers. The conference, titled At Home with Eating Disorders, will be held in Brisbane, Queensland, on May 24th and 25th. With one month to go, we have more than 200 registrants!
As a member of the conference organising committee, and co-chair with Jeremy Freeman on the program committee, I feel immensely happy that Aussies are stepping out in the fight against eating disorders.
We are confident of a ‘full-house’ at our venue, the Royal Brisbane Women’s and Childrens Hospital Education Centre, and suggest that if you have not yet registered, do so quickly to avoid disappointment! Click here!
When we began to organise this conference 18 months ago, we thought maybe if 50 people came along, this would be a good start. Cracking the 200 mark in registrations reveals the great need for this conference. It reveals that families and carers recognise the seriousness of the illness and it starkly reveals the deep hunger for knowledge and support. Families want to learn all they can about eating disorders and acquire skills to assist their loved one in recovery.
The intense interest in the conference also reflects the great lineup on our program. Registrants have a great desire to make the most of this opportunity to learn from world leaders in the eating disorder research field, with our keynote speakers comprising: Professor Janet Treasure from the UK, and Professor Cynthia Bulik and Professor Daniel Le Grange from the USA. We also have Professor Stephen Touyz from the University of Sydney, Andrew Wallis (Children’s Hospital at Westmead) and many other experts in the field.
Best evidence treatment for eating disorders now shows that the close involvement of families and carers in the care of their loved ones is the key to improving early detection, restoration to a healthy weight and maintaining long term wellbeing. For parents and carers, however, the journey can be confusing, challenging and difficult to navigate. The primary aim of our Conference is to provide access to a range of expert knowledge and skills for families and caregivers of people with eating disorders, so that they can leave the conference feeling empowered, better informed and more able to support, care for and assist in the recovery of the person with the eating disorder. The secondary aim of the conference is to provide families and carers of people with eating disorders with opportunities to network and connect with other people with similar experience, in a safe and supported environment, so that they can benefit and gain confidence and new insights from shared knowledge and experience.
We also welcome clinicians and sufferers wanting to learn more about and be inspired by the role of families and carers in supporting recovery.
Organising At Home with Eating Disorders conference in itself has been a remarkable journey of ‘coming together’, of collaboration in the Australian eating disorder field, with four organisations working to make this event the best we can for families, carers, sufferers, clinicians and everyone else interested in learning about the illness. The organisations – who represent carers, families, sufferers of eating disorders, clinicians and researchers, and support organisations – comprise The Butterfly Foundation, F.E.A.S.T., the Eating Disorder Outreach Service (Queensland) and the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Eating Disorders. Generous support from these organisations, plus others, has kept the registration fee to a minimum to help you get there. Travel grants also are available.
For me personally, this event is a dream come true. Besides learning from the world’s best researchers and clinicians, At Home with Eating Disorders will provide a safe and supportive environment in which to share with others. See you there!