Butterfly: Let's Talk

Butterfly: Let's Talk

This is the Butterfly Podcast from the Butterfly Foundation, your national voice for people living with body image issues and eating disorders.


June 4, 2024 35 mins

A staggering ninety-five percent of young Australians aged between 12 and 18 are experiencing some level of body image concern, and more than half are unhappy with how their body looks. That’s according to Butterfly’s second Body Kind Youth Survey.

With body dissatisfaction playing a significant role in the development of eating disorders, it’s not surprising that this data makes sense in relation to Butterfly’s latest Paying the ...

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The concept of including peers in your treatment team, that is people who have recovered from a similar health experience to yours, is not new in healthcare.

Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, has successfully engaged the support of recovered people—called sponsors—since the 1930s.

However, until recently, the model of care has remained quite uncommon. The good news it's experiencing a much welcomed revival, with peer support wid...

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Improvements in quality of life and reduced healthcare costs are just some of the benefits uncovered in a Monash University study of Australia’s only residential treatment program for people struggling with eating disorders.

Wandi Nerida, based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, provides a unique model of holistic, person-centred, inpatient care. As the rate of eating disorders continues to rise, so does the need for improved treatme...

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Please note: This episode was briefly published prematurely on the 4th of April. If you listened to it then we apologise for the repeat. 

If you’ve ever wondered what the public in Australia knows and thinks about eating disorders and body image issues, this episode will put all your questions to rest. We unpack the latest findings from Butterfly's 2024 Community Insights Report with our Head of Knowledge, Research and Policy who ...

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We often talk about the psycho-emotional costs of eating disorders for those living with them; but up to this point, we haven’t learned much about the costs to society.

Now we know. Since 2012, there’s been a shocking 36 per cent increase in the economic burden of eating disorders to the people of Australia. In the meantime, 1.1 million people in this country are currently living with an eating disorder – that's an increase of 21%...

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We should let you know that this episode discusses sexual abuse and comes with a trigger warning. It's about trauma, which is an individual’s response to an event or series of events that have deeply disturbed their sense of safety, security, or well-being.  

While research shows a clear intersection between trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders, too few health professionals include trauma therapy in...

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This month we’re talking to a distinguished social epidemiologist and behavioural scientist at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Her name is Professor Bryn Austin, and her research focuses on public health approaches to eating disorders.

Our conversation begins with an overview of the web that connects consumer culture, corporate exploitation, and the pervasive influence of diet culture on body image. “We’ve known for deca...

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We’re talking about the higher-weight paradox, particularly when well-meaning health professionals can trigger an eating disorder or make one worse. 

Not everything health issue is solved by losing weight, yet that is what people in larger bodies too often hear. Worse, numerous people living with eating disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated because the stereotype of an eating disorder doesn’t fit their reality.   

Melissa sa...

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At the recent Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders conference on the Gold Coast, we spoke to experts about new and groundbreaking insights into eating disorders. This episode is the second in a series of two.  

Dr Simon Wilksch unpacks his work around the significant financial and emotional costs that families face when caring for children with eating disorders and, to improve outcomes, why he recommends that par...

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The key to understanding any mental illness is to listen to those who have been through it. Not only can the voices of those with lived experience of an eating disorder help those who are currently impacted, but they also, importantly, serve to educate the health professionals who will provide care. 

The evidence is clear: Services that are co-designed with those who know their own situation will always have the best chance of suc...

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We snuck into the annual Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) conference to illuminate the future of eating disorder diagnosis and care. We recorded on-site at the conference, where we asked various speakers to give us a taste of their research for the sake of all those who’d be interested but couldn’t be there.

Segment 1: Reviewing current treatment approaches
Dr. Anthea Fursland, a distinguished cli...

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According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-V–also known as the psychiatrist’s bible–there are only four official diagnoses for eating disorders. Though experts expect that number to double in the next edition, the reasons someone might develop or maintain an eating disorder are as variable as the number of people affected.   

This is because eating disorders are not just a set of behaviours. Th...

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There’s a medication for almost every illness, and that’s true for mental illnesses,
including eating disorders. But how do they work, and how do they help? We’re
launching our fourth season of Butterfly: Let’s Talk with an investigation into
medications used to treat people with eating disorders, including some brand-new
developments that could offer hope.

“Many people with an eating disorder will be prescribed some k...

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The results from the new Butterfly Body Kind Youth Survey are in, and they’re concerning. More than 1600 young people aged 12-18 took part in the survey, with at least half saying they were dissatisfied with their bodies. About one in three kids say they’re completely dissatisfied with the way that they look.

"The problem is there’s a real cost to young people's body dissatisfaction," says Helen Bird, Butterfly's Education Manager...

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In February this year, ABC dedicated their flagship investigative report, Four Corners, to eating disorders. This was, in part, because of a few Members of Parliament.

The MPs are Teal Independent Zoe Daniel, Liberal Andrew Wallace and Labor’s Susan Templeman. Based on continuous calls for help from their constituents, the three resolved to act for change. To start, they’re co-chairing a new Parliamentary Friends Group for Eating ...

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Many of us remember being teased about our appearance in primary school because it happens - a lot. Perhaps we don’t think about it much now, but chances are the experience has left a mark on who we’ve become. The research is clear: Appearance-based teasing is a key risk factor for a child to develop body dissatisfaction which, in turn, can negatively impact their life outcomes, including their mental health, career, and relationsh...

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Dr Beth Shelton is a psychologist and long-time director of the National Eating Disorder Collaboration (NEDC), leading a team that develops national standards for preventing and treating eating disorders and works actively to build the system of care.

As a highly respected professional in the field, we asked Beth to explain the different diagnoses for eating disorders, the possible causes, and what she believes constitutes “normal...

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February 14, 2023 25 mins

We’re all subject to continuous appearance-based pressures which impact our self-worth. The LGBTQIA+ community is no different. In fact, it’s a community that faces unique challenges regarding pressures that affect body image. And, for some people, it can escalate during Mardi Gras season.  

“People will go on a big shred or a big diet for the month,” says one of Australia’s most popular LGBTQIA+ content creators, Matt, also known...

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It goes without saying that we want to give our young children the best start. We also know from years of research that negative body image can impact almost all life outcomes – including relationships, education, and careers. 

So how do we protect our children from developing a negative body image? And when should we start? The answer could shock you. 

Dr Stephanie Damiano is a psychology researcher and an expert in this space. 


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The summer holidays usually come with some expectations. We meet the extended family for a holiday meal. We wear fewer clothes in the summer heat. We make new year’s resolutions pushed by the diet industry. We smile and nod at the inevitable comments about our appearance from well-meaning family members. And we’re expected to find all of this a joyous time of year. But it’s events like these that make the summer holiday period diff...

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