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Although My Mind Check is not able to diagnose an eating disorder, it can tell us if your child is acknowledging some difficulties with their body image or eating at the time of their check-in.

Body image is how your child perceives, thinks about and feels about their body. This includes their perceptions of their appearance, size, shape and other physical attributes. Body image development begins in early childhood and evolves throughout adolescence and into adulthood. It’s common for males and females of all ages and body types to experience negative body image. In some instances, it may lead to a child feeling less confident to participate in their daily activities, and they may experience increased stress and low mood. 

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Eating difficulties in children and young people can impact physical health, growth and development, emotional wellbeing, and overall quality of life. At an early age, your child may have gone through phases of picky eating where they refused certain foods or had strong preferences. In some children, this may be due to developmental and motor skill delays, sensory sensitivities, or simply their way of asserting their independence.  

As they get older, your child may be susceptible to media messaging and social pressure about food and body image, which can impact their behaviours and attitudes to eating. Children may use food to cope with their big emotions, or their appetite may be reduced because of stress or low mood.  

We recommend seeking guidance from healthcare professionals, such as your child’s GP or paediatrician, who can help support you to identify any underlying causes. They can develop appropriate interventions and strategies to support healthy eating. 

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Fact sheets about body image

Body image tips for caregivers

Fact sheets with information on early warning signs and ways to be a good role model for your child and young person
11-18 years

Body image for pre-teens and teens

What caregivers can do to support their child
9-18 years

Body image for children 2-8 years

Information on body image, what caregivers can do to support body image concerns and get support
2-8 years

Body image in children. Early warning signs

Ways to promote a healthy body image in your child
2-12 years

Fact sheets about eating difficulties

Understanding disordered eating and eating disorders - for family and friends

Information on the signs and symptoms, and how to best support and get help for your child
12-15 years

Eating disorders handout for caregivers

Eating disorders handout for caregivers. Information on the signs and symptoms, and how to best support and get help for your my child
All ages

Myths about eating disorders

Understanding eating disorders, the risks, stigma and warning signs
All ages

Eating disorders. Concerned for someone you know?

Supporting and caring for someone with an eating disorder
All ages

Programs for body image and eating difficulties

Several evidence-based programs can assist your child to develop a healthy body image and get support for their difficulties with eating. We also recommend that your child has a thorough review with a medical professional. 

Butterfly Foundation Parent Seminars

Seminars for parents and caregivers providing them with information about how to support their child’s body confidence. 

Referral required
No

Costs
Yes

 

12+ Years

Butterfly Foundation Carer Program

A program for caregivers to help a young person overcome an eating disorder.  

Referral required
No

Costs
Free

 

All ages

Service finders

If you are seeking support for your child’s eating/body image concerns, use these service finders to explore what services may be appropriate.

Butterfly National Helpline

Provides free and confidential support for children/adolescents with eating/body image concerns. This helpline also provides support to parents who have a child with eating/body image concerns

The Butterfly Foundation Referral Search Database

Help your child find professional support for eating or body image concerns, depending on their needs and preferences

Connect·ed Searchable Directory

Help your child to find and connect with ANZAED Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinicians from around Australia

InsideOut Institute Treatment Services Database

Search for a private practitioner, community clinic or program, day program, in-hospital treatment, support group or clinical supervisor on behalf of your child

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration Service Locator

Find information about eating disorder-specific clinical services for your child

Head to Health

Provides resources to help your child understand and manage what they’re feeling and connect them to mental health support

Headspace

Find a headspace centre for your child. Headspace centres are located throughout Australia and are staffed with people who are trained and ready to help

Headspace Regional Phone Counselling Service

Provides support to students living in areas with less accessibility to mental health services by providing digital mental health support via credentialled clinicians during school hours

Find a GP (General Practitioner)

Find a GP suitable for your child’s needs, with options to search for bulk billing practices, opening hours, access needs, and location

Find a Psychologist

Find a psychologist suitable for your child’s needs, with options to search by issue and location. Your child may wish to see a GP prior to making an appointment with a psychologist, to gain a referral or Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP)