News Items

News Items

STOP PRESS: A Girl Called Tim has left the valley of her childhood. She is airborne, travelling the world in an ebook:

My Kid is Back – Empowering Parents to Beat Anorexia Nervosa is also selling as an ebook:
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SWAN puts ED on trial

Free outpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa: the Strong Without Anorexia Nervosa (SWAN) study

I’m blowing my Aussie trumpet a little here.

Three promising state of the art treatments for anorexia nervosa are being compared in a world-first study led by researchers from The University of Western Australia (A/Prof. Susan Byrne), Flinders University (Prof. Tracey Wade), The University of Sydney (Prof. Stephen Touyz), and The University of Western Sydney (Prof. Phillipa Hay). International collaborators from Oxford University, Kings College London, and The University of Otago are also involved.

The SWAN study takes the form of a multi-centre randomised controlled trial of three psychological treatments for anorexia nervosa and atypical anorexia. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia is funding the research. Participants receive between 25 and 40 free, outpatient, individual sessions with a psychologist over a 10-month period. Treatment is being offered in Perth, Sydney and Adelaide.

Currently, there are no guidelines regarding the best treatment options for adults with anorexia nervosa. The three treatments being evaluated in this study have previously been found to produce promising results, and include Enhanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT-E), the Maudsley Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA), and Specialist Supportive Clinical Management for anorexia nervosa (SSCM).

Results from the SWAN trial are expected to provide much needed information about the relative efficacy of these alternate treatments for anorexia nervosa.

The four-year trial commenced in April 2010 and has generated more than 250 inquiries. More than 50 participants have been enrolled in treatment and referrals are being accepted until early 2013. The trial is suited to men and women aged 18 years and over with anorexia nervosa or atypical anorexia nervosa.

This a great opportunity to get involved in research that can help you and holds promise of helping many others.

Additional information regarding the trial can be found on the SWAN website, at . Inquiries also can be directed to Dr Karina Allen, Study Coordinator, .

 Together to get more Mental Health care for kids

See my letter ‘Work Together’ Melbourne’s Sunday Age today  – we need united voice to increase mental health budget:

Work together

I PRESCRIBE a strong dose of collaboration for the psychiatrists, psychologists and patients who accuse Patrick McGorry of self-interest and criticise the federal government’s mental health reforms. As someone who developed a mental illness at age 11 in the 1960s, I applaud the call for early intervention.

McGorry’s untiring work in establishing headspace centres and early psychosis prevention and intervention centres is a step in the right direction. He has helped lift the stigma from mental illness. He has worked wonders in placing mental health on the budget agenda. Learn from him. Be inspired by him.

The link to the article which inspired my letter to the editor: McGorry Accused of Conflict of InterestThe Age, August 7th.

Roll-out of Family-Based Treatment cannot come soon enough

The Maudsley Approach, also known as Family-Based Treatment, has been around for more than 25 years as the most effective evidence-based treatment for early intervention of eating disorders in children and adolescents. But horrors upon horrors, the gap between research and practice, between discovery and application, has been far too wide. Twenty-five years represents more than a generation of children and their families missing out on life-saving treatment. I cannot bear to think about that.

Thank goodness inroads are being made to bridge the gap. In Australia, the government is supporting the roll-out of Family-Based Treatment in our major cities and in provincial areas too. In my home state of Victoria, the roll-out is well underway and this evening I was invited to speak at the launch of the Barwon Health Child and Youth Eating Disorder Service at Geelong.

I was invited to share my story with a bunch of dedicated clinicians who are attending a two-day training program in Family-Based Treatment. The training is being delivered by the Victorian Centre of Excellence of Eating Disorders (CEED). I told the clinicians that I wish Family-Based Treatment had been around when I was a kid because there was every chance it would have saved my family relationships and relieved me of decades of debilitating torment from my eating disorder. I wish my parents had had opportunity to learn skills to fight my illness on my behalf until I was sufficiently recovered to do so myself. I struggled along and got there eventually (and indeed, there is hope at every age), but not without loss. I became alienated from parents and sister, and lost my marriage along the way. Eating disorders are manipulative, isolating and dominating illnesses. In my case, and that of thousands of other adults who have suffered for years with an eating disorder, we can’t turn back time, but we can make sure that not another second is wasted in spreading the word about Family-Based Treatment. We need clinicians who are well trained to ensure the best delivery, and we need governments to continue to recognise that when it comes to eating disorders, as with all mental illnesses, early intervention is best. It is vital.

I love collaboration, and this event held promise for lots of it. The launch was held in partnership with Pathways Rehabilitation and Support Services Ltd, Deakin University School of Psychology Geelong Waterfront and the Victorian Centre for Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED). I thank Dr Melissa O’Shea, Program Manager, Child and Youth Programs, Barwon Health, for inviting me along. I look forward to watching the Barwon Health Child and Youth Eating Disorder Service grow. It is in very good hands – those of Hollie Laver, the young and energetic clinical coordinator.


Stacey Moore of bookgrove bookstore Ocean Grove and June Alexander at the Barwon Health Child and Youth Eating Disorder Service launch of FBT June 2011

Hollie Laver (Clinical Coordinator Barwon Health Eating Disorder Service), June Alexander, and Dr Melissa O’Shea (Program Manager, Chief Psychologist. Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services. Barwon Health) at Barwon Health Child and Youth Eating Disorder Service launch of FBT, Geelong, June 2011

Writing puts you on the right path

Read about the value of writing as a form of communication and expression on Pages 16 and 17 in Get Ahead Kidsmagazine, May-June issue.

Herald Sun Weekend magazine

A Living Hell — By Cheryl Critchley, Weekend magazine, Herald Sun newspaper, Melbourne, Saturday, April 30, 2011. Cheryl interviews June Alexander  about A Girl Called Tim in this article for parents, partners and people with eating disorders.


Go to

Re-living a childhood — how do you do it? In this interview with Brooke Hunter, June describes how she went about writing her memoir A Girl Called Tim.

Hometown Review – March 30, 2011

Fighting an eating disorder and coping with a mental illness, requires preparations like a soldier preparing for battle.  It requires doing away with ‘keeping up appearances’.  East Gippsland News journalist, Jan Burrows, reports on the launch of A Girl Called Tim in Bairnsdale in East Gippsland News Page 3 March 30.

I travelled to Bairnsdale in East Gippsland (Victoria, Australia)  to reflect and share my experiences in the beautiful hometown of my childhood. (See Jan Burrow’s lead up article  Never give up! as published in the Bairnsdale Advertisernewspaper, March 2011).
The event took the form of an Author Night at PaperChase at Collins Booksellers, 166 Main Street, Bairnsdale. Di and Duncan and staff made me feel very welcome in their fantastic bookshop-and-licensed-cafe and the audience showed great interest in learning about eating disorders — the symptoms, the recovery process, the effect on self and family. I felt honoured that the audience included extended family members of both George’s family and my family, and families from the Lindenow Valley. One mother from the valley of my childhood confided that her daughter is currently suffering AN. She was hopeful my book would give inspiration for recovery. The courageous sharing of this loving mother and others – including young women with AN and BN and their carers – helped me feel that my return to Bairnsdale for this event was very worthwhile. A big ‘thank you’ to Di and Duncan and staff for heartwarming hospitality.

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Accommodation was provided at the historic and beautiful Riversleigh overlooking the Mitchell River.


Sydney Morning Herald

June Alexander

About June Alexander

All articles by June Alexander

As founder of Life Stories Diary my prime motivation is to connect with people who want to share their story. Why? Because your story is important. My goal with this blog is to provide a platform for you to share your story with others. Building on the accomplishments of The Diary Healer the Life Stories Diary blog will continue to be a voice for people who have experienced an eating disorder, trauma or other mental health challenge, and provide inspiration through the narrative, to live a full and meaningful life.

My nine books about eating disorders focus on learning through story-sharing. Prior to writing books, which include my memoir, I had a long career in print journalism. In 2017, I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing), researching the usefulness of journaling and writing when recovering from an eating disorder or other traumatic experience.
Today I combine my writing expertise with life experience to help others self-heal. Clients receive mentoring in narrative techniques and guidance in memoir-writing. I also share my editing expertise with people who are writing their story and wish to prepare it to publication standard. I encourage everyone to write their story. Your story counts!
Contact me: Email and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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