Funding woes close eating disorder clinic

MARIKA HILL AND MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 05/11/2012

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The country's only community clinic treating eating disorders has closed.

Eden Counselling Service in Auckland shut its doors on October 23 due to a lack of funding.

The non-profit organisation in Epsom aimed to prevent eating disorders such as anorexia through counselling, education and research.

Victoria Marsden, former counselling services manager at Eden, said the absence of government funding made it difficult to sustain.

"We're hugely disappointed. It's a much needed service and it's very sad clients cannot access a community based counselling service. It was the only one in the country."

Eden relied on corporate sponsors and gambling trusts to stay open.

The clinic treated up to 15 clients weekly for conditions ranging from clinical diagnoses to general body image dissatisfaction. 

Most of their patients were aged in their twenties.

Marsden took charge of the clinic in August after former director Deb Schwarz left for personal reasons.

Some of Eden's clients didn't meet the criteria for accessing public health treatment, Marsden said.

Clients are now being treated by the three counselling staff in their private practises at the same price.

The Eden Counselling board released a statement confirming counselling and support had turned private.

"In response to the present funding climate, Eden has entered a process of transition to ensure the sustainability of Eden's unique and valued services and programmes."

The Women's Health Action team would absorb Eden's campaign work, such as diet free day and school education.

It is not the first community counselling service to fall victim to funding shortfalls.

Victims of sexual abuse were recently told they could lose access to a 24-hour crisis line.

The Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP service may dramatically reduce its services after the government decided to cut its funding.

The proposed new budget would push the organisation into restructuring, manager Aimee Stockenstroom said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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