New home for eating disorder services

World-leading eating disorders research led by Flinders University will operate in a new $7.1 million purpose-built building at the Repat health precinct at Daw Park.

The new Statewide Eating Disorder Service (SEDS) centre at the revitalised Repat will be the first service in Australia bringing together national and state-based services via a research-led, multidisciplinary team.

Funded by the federal and state governments, with support from the philanthropic Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation, the integrated community service will offer residential and same-day support for people living with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other specified feeding or eating disorders.

More than one million people in Australia – including children as young as seven – are living with an eating disorder, with females making up about 64%. This group has one the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

SEDS research lead, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Psychology Tracey Wade, says the purpose-built facility will enable patients, clinicians and researchers to work side by side under one roof.

“Key partnerships with groups such as SEDS, headspace and the National Eating Disorders Collaboration are helping us to investigate and develop early intervention and improved services for eating disorders,” says Professor Wade, from Flinders University’s College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, who also leads eating disorders research at the Flinders Órama Institute for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Neuroscience.

Professor Tracey Wade, who is part of an international investigation into possible genetic and epigenetic links to eating disorders, and other behaviours.

As well as a $5 million commitment from the Federal Government, Breakthrough has fundraised for a majority of the remaining $2.1 million, including receiving a generous $500,000 donation from the Fay Fuller Foundation.

“Not only will this centre provide the best evidenced-based treatment, but the inclusion of a new dedicated research space will allow researchers to tackle eating disorders from every angle and really make strides in stopping this disease, which has for too long been so devastating for sufferers and their families,” says Breakthrough’s Executive Director John Mannion.

The new Repat building will give South Australians the right environment to deliver eating disorders treatment, currently offered at the older and smaller SEDS facility at Brighton.

Features of the new unit will be:

  • Engagement in treatment in a community-based setting, rather than a medical or hospital setting.
  • ‘Step-down’ residential day-care services, supporting patients and their families through the course of treatment and as the patient reintegrates into the community.
  • The opportunity for eating disorder treatment to be delivered in an accessible location, including for country patients.


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