SHANNON Calvert could not see an end to her long battle with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa until, suddenly, she turned a corner and was on the road to recovery.
The Connolly resident has suffered from an eating disorder for almost 30 years and although she is continuing to recover from the experience, her goal is to improve the understanding and treatment of the mental health illness.
“I did give up and I was given up on – I was preparing my end of life because of the lack of understanding and support,” she said.
“The frightening thing for me at that point was realising I didn’t know where to go, what to do, or how to access care, but through a fragmented approach, one or two people held on to hope for me I was able to access parts of care.”
Miss Calvert will speak at the Eating disorder Consumer and Carer forum about her lived experience with anorexia and her struggle with accessing help through the public health system.
The North Metropolitan Health Service is developing an Eating Disorders project, a new model of care being developed for the public health system, and will host a forum to receive feedback from those living with, or experiencing an eating disorder.
Miss Calvert said feedback would be included in a business case that would seek funding for eating disorders across hospitals in the state.
“The need for multidisciplinary care is vital – because of the complexity of the disorder, the team is inclusive of yourself, carer and support, dietetic and nutritionist support is vital, psychology and holistic healing as well as psychiatric support,” she said.
“Hopefully we can prevent acute access to care -the reality is treatment has to be accessible to all as eating disorders don’t discriminate.”
Miss Calvert said the best case scenario moving forward was knowing there would be better access to treatment and care that would stop the mental health illness in its tracks before it went down a vicious path.
“Carers and consumers can offer an experience they’ve lived in and help create a future model that’s being worked on – people have an opportunity to identify what they think will help,” she said.
Anyone with lived experience of an eating disorder who wants to be involved in the forum should email Tessa.Jones@health.wa.gov.au.
WHAT: Eating disorder Consumer and Carer forum.
WHEN: May 2 from 5.30- 7.30pm at City West Lotteries House, West Perth.