The long tail of the pandemic

Mental Health Victoria has published an interview with Eating Disorders Victoria (EDV) CEO Belinda Caldwell. The organisation has nearly tripled in size in the past two years, largely due to increased demand for services during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this excerpt she reflects on why continued investment post-pandemic can help ensure we have robust services that continue to meet the needs of, particularly, young people.

The funding may have been COVID specific, but the work is not. In particular, programs like Carer Coaches that focus on early intervention among young people will have ongoing relevance.

“We don't see demand slowing down at all,” says Belinda. “People can fall into an eating disorder relatively quickly, but it takes a lot longer to get back out of it.

“There will be a long tail on the end of this crisis. And we want to continue to be able to turn up for our community in this way.”

For EDV, the equation is simple: demand plus investment equals innovation and growth. That equation has been exemplified during the pandemic period, but shouldn’t be limited to it.

It enables organisations like EDV to meet the needs of more people in more effective ways.

“We’ve got to a stage now where we can scale up relatively efficiently,” says Caldwell. “We've got a critical mass of funding where with each increase, we can see more people for less money.

“We've always known we reach only about two or three per cent of the whole eating disorder affected community in Victoria,” says Caldwell. “We want that to be so much more.”

You can hear more from Belinda Caldwell during our upcoming webinar Learning from adversity: Bushfires, COVID and the lessons for mental health reform. Free registrations are now open