Following the government's planned restructuring of mental health services, The Butterfly Foundation has been told that they only have 12 months left of funding for their helpline dedicated to helping people with eating disorders. Instead, the government will be creating a centralised online gateway for mental health services.
With more than 1 million Australians suffering from eating disorders, and anorexia having the highest death rate of any mental illness, it's more important than ever that people suffering from an eating disorder are provided with a specialised avenue to seek help.
The CEO of The Butterfly Foundation, Christine Morgan, told ABC News that she was not impressed by the cuts. She said that the service helped 1000 people every month.
"To be honest, it fills me with horror because at the moment, this is the only national dedicated service for people with eating disorders."
Since the announcement, various users of the helpline have also come forward to protect the service.
Kath Courts, 26, who has been using the Butterfly Foundation's helpline when she needs it through tough times, told ABC that it was one of the most important safe spaces she had come across. She even said that other mental health lines had told friends of hers to 'go for a walk' or 'have an icecream', which she explained was extremely unhelpful.
"To be told to eat something pleasant, it's like you have absolutely no idea what I'm going through, I really need help and I'm not getting it."
Brynn Davis, 22, has also come forward, writing a pleading piece for The Huffington Post to protect the Butterfly Foundation's specialised eating disorder services, which helped her get through her struggle with anorexia.
"My heart broke for every single person with an eating disorder in this country - past, present and future - who will be left without a lifeline."
She reiterated what Kath said about the importance of a specialised service.
"Giving life-saving advice to an eating disorder patient requires specialised training and an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of a patient's mentality. This is not available on a regular helpline. One wrong piece of advice can have catastrophic consequences."
As the current plan stands, the new centralised service will direct people to more specialised services after some initial screening services.