A photo of a comforting hand resting on the shoulder of someone wearing a green jacket.

InsideOut Institute's $8m funding enhances support for eating disorders

30 May 2023
Two $4m grants from the Australian Government to support digital initiatives
The Australian Government has funded the InsideOut Institute's award-winning eClinic and Digital GP Hub which aim to improve outcomes for those living with an eating disorder.

“It is so important that Australians living with eating disorders can access support where and when they need it and I commend the Government on funding these innovative programs developed by our InsideOut Institute,” said Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Sydney, Professor Mark Scott AO.

The InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders is a collaboration between the Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney, based at Charles Perkins Centre. It aims to ensure every Australian living with an eating disorder has access to the best possible care by rethinking eating disorders from the ‘inside out’.

This partnership between the University and the health district ensures research findings are seamlessly translated into improved patient outcomes. 

Under the new funding, a $4 million grant will go to the award-winning eClinic, an online, evidence-based platform for people with eating disorder symptoms.

The InsideOut Institute eClinic provides Australians access to eTherapy programs including Binge Eating eTherapy (BEeT), Brief Binge Eating eTherapy (Brief BEeT), SupportED and a clinical toolkit. The digital platform will make treatment available to anyone with an eating disorder, no matter where they live.

Photo of Associate Professor Sarah Maguire

InsideOut Institute Director Associate Professor Sarah Maguire

“We are heartened to see funding to make effective eating disorders care more accessible, that benefits rural and regional community members as much as it does metropolitan and breaks down barriers in accessing care,” said InsideOut Director, Associate Professor Sarah Maguire from the University of Sydney.

“We know that most people with eating disorders don’t access evidence-based treatment, our eClinic has been developed to tackle this problem and has been proved effective in four scientific trials. It is ready to scale.”

All InsideOut eTherapy programs have been developed and evaluated by a team of specialist eating disorder clinicians, researchers, and digital designers as well as experts by lived experience.

The Institute was also awarded $4 million for the new Digital GP Hub, providing GPs with targeted information at the right time to better identify those at risk of an eating disorder and provide evidence-based treatment.

GPs are critical as the first point of health system contact, however, many report feeling out of their depth identifying and treating people with eating disorders.

“GPs have the skills to identify and treat people with eating disorders, they just need the right kind of support and information to help guide their practice,” InsideOut National Programs Manager Peta Marks says.

“If we help GPs identify people sooner and give them the resources they need to intervene early, they will help people to avoid more severe and longer-term eating disorders.”

Taking a whole-of-practice approach, the GP Hub’s user-friendly digital tools include an eScreener and eAssessement, a Clinical Decision Support Tool to aid diagnosis and inform treatment prescription that matches stage of illness and individual need, links to our Treatment Services Database and Treatment Team Builder facilitating appropriate referrals, information about complex care support and escalation guidelines, a Practice Management Toolkit and an option to link patients with our eTherapy platform for pure self-help treatment accessible immediately.

“This suite of tools was designed to be seamlessly embedded into practice processes and software, helping GPs to find the answers they need in real time,” InsideOut Primary Care Lead Sally Corry says.

“Our GP Hub will address a major gap in care and aims to improve safety and care pathways for those with an eating disorder."

The new digital tool and GP Hub was co-designed and tested with GPs, lived experience experts, carers, practice managers, clinicians and eating disorder specialists.

The GP Hub, alongside the eTherapies will ensure nationwide availability of evidence-based, early intervention treatment that aims to reduce the prevalence of eating disorders, waitlists for community care and hospitals.

Support available:

If you are experiencing distress and need support, you can contact:

  • The Butterfly National Helpline 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673)
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
  • Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Headspace: 1800 650 890
  • ReachOut: au.reachout.com

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