On Sunday, February 3, the New South Wales Government pledged $9.6 million over the ensuing four years to a dynamic national eating disorders institute.

The InsideOut Institute – Australia’s first national body for research and clinical excellence in eating disorders – was the worthy recipient of the government funds.

According to Psychologist and InsideOut Institute Director, Dr Sarah Maguire, the NSWGovernment’s pledge will offer Australians living with eating disorders enhanced access to hospital and community treatment, and health professionals trained in eating disorders.

“This is a remarkable step forward and acknowledgement of the work by many from the State-wide Implementation Committee, the local coordinators, the tertiary hubs and the Local Health Districts leading to this point.

“This is a continuation of the previous five years, given work is already underway to improve pathways to care. We should also see an improvement in the skills of the workforce that look after people with eating disorders. So, people should expect a more informed journey of care through the system,” said Dr Maguire.

NSW Mental Health Minister, The Hon. Tanya Davies MP who pledged the funds to the InsideOut Institute last Sunday said the dollars would enable more Australians to be connected to the medical and mental health support services they required.

“The New South Wales Liberal and Nationals Government is proud to announce that we are more than doubling the funding to support the InsideOut Institute, as well as increasing the number of Coordinators right through our health system, to support people who are living with serious, chronic eating disorders,” Minister Davies said

The funding allocation brings the NSW governments allowance for eating disorders over the ensuing four years to $16.8 million.

“What this means for InsideOut is that we will be able to combine both research, clinical innovation and translation from the Federal government with our policy and service funding from the state government, to ensure rapid translation into core health services. To do this, workforce development is a key priority over the next five years,” said Dr Maguire.

Among the InsideOut Institute’s biggest achievements to date has been the formation of funding and policy partnerships with both the NSW and Federal governments.

“In order to truly transform health system delivery, you need to partner with governments who ultimately control not only the funding that goes to the health system, but the polices that drive practice,” Dr Maguire said.

“I think it is fair to say that eating disorders have been one of the more neglected major mental illness groups. Leadership from government is the essential first ingredient to change that.”

VIVA! Communications’ Principal, Kirsten Bruce, who has served on the InsideOut Institute Advisory Council offering communications counsel over the past three years, welcomed the funding announcement, citing “this is fabulous news for the health professional community, Australians living with eating disorders and their loved ones alike.

“This funding boost will enable the Institute to provide the more than one million Australians living with an eating disorder, access to the best possible care, and in so doing, transform the treatment landscape,” said Ms Bruce.

The government funding follow last year’s Federal Government pledge of $4 million to InsideOut Institute over three-and-a-half years to develop the country’s first hub for research and translation in eating disorders.

The InsideOut Institute is a collaboration between the Sydney Local Health District and the University orf Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre. To learn more about the InsideOut Institute, head here.