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My Mind Check can tell you whether a student has concerns about their body image or eating difficulties at the time of their check-in. It’s not a diagnosis.

Body image is how a student perceives, thinks and feels about their body. This includes their perceptions of their appearance, size, shape and other physical attributes. Body image development starts in early childhood and evolves throughout adolescence and into adulthood. It is common for males and females of all ages and body types to experience negative body image. It can sometimes lead to a student feeling less confident to take part in their daily activities. The student may experience increased stress, low mood and avoidance. Ongoing monitoring of these early indicators may be helpful.

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Eating difficulties in children and young people can affect their physical health, growth and development, emotional wellbeing, and overall quality of life. At an early age, a child might 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, children may be susceptible to media messaging and social pressure about food and body image, which can affect their behaviours and attitudes to eating. They may use food to cope with their big emotions, or their appetite may be reduced because of stress or low mood.

It’s important to flag your concerns as soon as possible with your student’s caregiver. We recommend that caregivers seek guidance from healthcare professionals, such as their GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist. These experts can help support the family to identify any underlying causes. They can develop appropriate interventions and strategies to support the student.

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Fact sheets about body image

Body image

Why is a positive body image important?
School-aged children and young people

Learning environments that promote positive body image

How to foster a positive body image culture in your school
School-aged children and young people

Education resources: body image

Including fostering a positive body image environment, fact sheets and tips for body confidence
School-aged children and young people

Fact sheets about eating difficulties

Eating disorders in schools

Prevention, early identification, response and recovery support
School-aged children and young people

Eating disorders. Talking to the student.

General tips for supporting students with an eating difficulty in a school setting
11-25 years

Empowering schools to support recovery

Supporting a student with an eating disorder at school
School-aged children and young people

Programs for body image and eating difficulties

Evidence-based programs can assist your student to develop a healthy body image and get support for their difficulties with eating. We also recommend a thorough review by 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

General services for body image and eating difficulties

If you are seeking support on behalf of a student who reports concerns relating to body image or eating difficulties but doesn’t need specialised services, use these service finders to explore what general services may be appropriate.

Head to Health

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

Headspace

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

Specialised services for body image and eating difficulties

If you are seeking support on behalf of a student for concerns relating to body image or eating difficulties use these service finders to explore what services may be appropriate.

Butterfly National Helpline

Provides free and confidential support for students with eating/body image concerns. This helpline also provides support to teachers who are caring for a student with eating/body image concerns

The Butterfly Foundation Referral Search Database

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

Connect·ed Searchable Directory

Help a student to find and connect with ANZAED Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinicians from around Australia

InsideOut Insitute 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 a student

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration Service Locator

Find information about eating disorder-specific clinical services for a student