The Butterfly Foundation: Great Aussie Charities You’ve Never Heard Of...

This week Givebot had the opportunity to learn more about The Butterfly Foundation and the work they do in the Aussie community.

The Butterfly Foundation
To live in a world that celebrates health, well-being and diversity. Butterfly’s mission is dedicated to bringing about change to the culture, policy and practice in the prevention, treatment and support of those affected by eating disorders and negative body image.

Where did it all begin?

Claire Middleton (formerly Vickery) founded the Butterfly Foundation in 2002 in response to her family’s journey with two daughters with anorexia nervosa and the difficulty they faced in accessing appropriate support and treatment. Since then, Butterfly has expanded to include the National Helpline, Intensive Outpatient Program, Youth Early Intervention Program, Recovery and Carer Support Groups and Education Services for schools and teachers.

Why is this a problem?

Eating Disorders are serious psychological illnesses affecting approximately 1 million Australians, and this number is increasing. Despite the high number of people experiencing eating disorders, there is limited access to support and treatment services across Australia. In addition to this, there is a need for an increased understanding of eating disorders within the community to start conversations, encourage help seeking and better support those in need. Butterfly’s staff and community are on a mission to make a difference!

A Day in the Life at The Butterfly Foundation:

It could be described as being dynamic, interacting across the different areas of the organisation, working on new and exciting projects within the community, sharing ideas with other mental health groups and most importantly talking with and hearing from people with a lived experience of an eating disorder so that we can best represent their journey.

A Personal Story of the Foundation’s Impact:

My mum thought that because I wasn’t into makeup and fashion that I couldn’t have an eating disorder. Mum couldn’t understand that I was doing it because I felt so bad about myself. I believed that I was disgusting and people were repulsed by me. No one could see that my illness was in my mind. Not my parents, my doctors or even my friends. The voices in my head convinced me that certain foods were out to poison me and that no one would love me if I didn’t follow a strict way of life. For me it was all about being able to say that I did have control over things and person power…

I was exercising obsessively that my heart rate dropped to drastically, which is really unhealthy. When I went to the cardiologist she looked at me and said I seemed like a fit, healthy young girl. No one ever asked me how I felt or why I was feeling this way. It wasn’t until my health deteriorated so badly that I was hospitalised. I was then faced with the reality of my illness.

Upon reflection, if there was anything that could have helped me, it would have been people recognising early that I was quite unwell. Education would have been so helpful for me and my family. I didn’t know what depression and anxiety or an eating disorder was before I had this myself. I had to ask my doctor to explain to my parents what an eating disorder was.

But I am so grateful that I was then given that information and amazingly was put in contact with some eating disorder specialists that were able to help me through my journey to recovery. In addition to this, I became aware of The Butterfly Foundation’s National Helpline. This service was vital in being able to speak with someone that understood my situation and give me information weekly on being able to get through each day! The people on the Helpline knew what they were talking about and I didn’t have to go through my story every time in order for them to try and understand my situation and illness. I lived in Canberra where there were absolutely no options for me and my family. So being able to easily access some help via the phone was lifesaving. I will be forever grateful for that.

What do you do with your donations?

Your support could allow us to:
- Fund our education programs for kids in schools,
- Create online programs & information for those in rural & remote areas,
- Make available online support groups for those living with an eating disorder & their carers.

  • $20 Could assist with the facilitation of a support group for someone experiencing an eating disorder or a carer
  • $50 Could help Butterfly run an online support group for sufferers and carers in rural and remote areas
  • $100 Could enable the loved ones of an eating disorder sufferer the opportunity to attend a Butterfly family counselling session
  • $300 Could provide a local school with a workshop on positive body image and self- esteem for 30 of their students
  • $1,000 Could train health workers and doctors within a local community in the identification and treatment of people with eating disorder

Are you Tax Deductible?: YES

Any upcoming events or need for additional support?

‘Raise a Hand for Eating Disorders’ Christmas campaign. Raise A Hand is all about bringing the community together to raise awareness and funds for those experiencing and caring for someone with an eating disorders. Currently, there is limited community support Australia wide, so we are asking Australians to raise their hand this Christmas and contribute to change. This campaign will be launching early November. Check out our website then to see how you can Raise A Hand.

Want more info about the foundation and where you can donate?

The Butterfly Foundation Website:

The Butterfly Foundation on Facebook: