Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Service


Building capacity for child and adolescent community-based eating disorders service provision across a diverse health service

Lead LHD:

Hunter New England 

Research Project:

Eating Disorders are mental illnesses often with severe complications and high rates of morbidity and mortality. Around 4% of Australians are affected at clinically significant levels, with the highest incidence in 15-19 year olds. Eating disorders have been identified as core business for all Local Health Districts, with a requirement to implement evidence-based treatments. Timely and appropriate care may reduce mortality and improve outcomes from eating disorders. Family Based Therapy for eating disorders is an effective treatment when provided by specialists.  There is currently no consistent eating disorders treatment approach across Hunter New England Local Health District. This intervention could foster policy and program development in this area, and prove useful for implementation across the state.

This study aims to answer the following questions:

  1. Does implementation of Family Based Therapy treatment in community-based Child and Adolescent Mental Health teams across the district lead to effective and cost-effective improvements in patient outcomes?
  2. Do specific clinician or organisational factors influence translation of Family Based Therapy from a specialist treatment to a more mainstream treatment model within these teams.

The intervention will include provision of specialist Family Based Therapy training, Family Based Therapy supervision, and resources to Child and Adolescent Mental Health clinicians. The study will compare patient outcomes for the intervention to usual practice. The team will also undertake an economic evaluation investigating whether the new intervention is more cost-effective than usual practice, including health care system and direct patient costs.

Project Lead:

Dr Melissa Hart, Eating Disorders Coordinator.