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Hugh van Cuylenburg to represent families dealing with eating disorders

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Hugh van Cuylenburg, new ambassador for charity tackling eating disorders

Prominent resilience expert Hugh van Cuylenburg is joining Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) as its newest ambassador, the organisation announced.

In his new role, the bestselling author and founder of The Resilience Project will work with the charity to break down the stigma associated with eating disorders, which affect an estimated one million Australians, and start a conversation about what can be done to support not only those with disorder eating, but also their families and carers.

Having experienced first-hand how eating disorders impact the whole family with long lasting effects after his sister was diagnosed anorexia nervosa, Hugh welcomed the opportunity to partner with the only national charity dedicated to supporting families and carers of a loved one with an eating disorder.

“I wish so much this were available when my family was struggling because, I don’t reckon we coped too well with it,” Hugh said.

EDFA is a national organisation dedicated to providing lived-experience support, validation, education and information to families and carers of a loved one with an eating disorder.

Founded by a group of Australian parents who have each cared for a young person with an eating disorder, EDFA empowers others to advocate for their loved ones’ needs in the recovery process through nationwide STRIVE support groups, education seminars, peer-to-peer support, and social events.

Hugh’s decision to support the work of EDFA comes at an important time for eating disorders awareness in Australia. Eating disorders and disordered eating together are estimated to affect over 16% of the Australian population. Alarmingly, as a result of COVID-19, the number of people seeking treatment for eating disorders has risen 40%.

EDFA says they have been overwhelmed by the number of family members and carers desperately seeking support and services as they try to help their loved ones.

“Through Hugh’s involvement with our charity and publicly sharing his experience, we hope people will be inspired to act,” said Christine Naismith, co-founder and Director of Eating Disorders Families Australia.

“We are grateful to Hugh for having the courage to talk about his experience and welcome his involvement with our charity in the pursuit of an Australia where eating disorders struggle to emerge, thrive or persist,” she said.

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