RED HOUSE is an acronym for Recovery from Eating Disorders - Hope, Optimism, Understanding, Support & Empowerment.  We are a registered charity which holds tax deductible gift recipient status but receives no Government funding. RED HOUSE was established with the goal of providing a new treatment and support options for people with eating disorders and their families.  It was founder, Mary Jane Lawson's arduous 30 year battle with anorexia, and her experiences in a system that she found inadequate and often inappropriate for the treatment of eating disorders, that led to her conceiving of RED HOUSE. Mary's vision is to change the way in which eating disorders are perceived and treated. 
RED HOUSE presents a new option in the treatment of eating disorders - one that is based on contemporary scientific evidence and professional Public Health models of care. Our approach differs in a number of ways from all other services available in Australia. RED HOUSE goes beyond the "one-size-fits-all" approach. Where conventional mainstream treatments place a focus on treating the pathology, RED HOUSE treats the individual person. We treat eating disorders from a genetic perspective using individual bio-chemical analysis and micronutrient therapy. We minimise the use of psychotropic medications, as evidence does not support their effectiveness in the treatment of eating disorders. Our services eliminate weight targets, calorie counting, artificial oral supplements, rigid meal plans, rules surrounding  food choices and eating behaviours - all of which are disempowering and are the common  focus of conventional mainstream eating disorder treatment programs. We replace these "old-school" approaches with an individualised genetics-based "Food as Medicine" approach, including education about nutrition that will not only heal your body and mind, but will greatly enhance your life. Our Lawson Nutrition program provides science-based nutritional products specifically designed for recovery from anorexia and other eating disorders.
RED HOUSE prides itself on providing the highest of ethical standards. First and foremost this involves practicing the 4 principles of Biomedical ethics - Autonomy, Justice, Beneficence, and Non-Maleficence. The very low recovery rates and high death rates in people with eating disorders are a result of the current system’s abandonment of these principles. Anorexia has a less than 50% recovery rate, and the highest mortality and suicide rates of any mental illness. RED HOUSE is designed to remedy these disturbing statistics.
The goals, objectives and expected outcomes of our service provision are eloquently summed up in the following statement by Andrews (1999):


“Everyone knows the characteristics of good treatment: it should, for a defined condition, reduce symptoms, disability and, after recovery, the risk of relapse. Such progress should be easily and reliably measured... Furthermore, good treatment must be able to be manufactured or taught to others, so that it can be delivered to all who need it. Good treatment, widely applied, should have a demonstrable effect on the prevalence of a disorder, not just by preventing recurrence but by shortening the duration and severity of illness in those who are ill”.


Evidence highlights that this definition of what constitutes “good treatment” is clearly not being achieved by current services for eating disorders. While there is no universal definition of recovery in the context of mental health care or eating disorders, RED HOUSE defines it as the achievement of 5 specific and measurable goals for each individual participant. These are:


  • The achievement and long-term maintenance of a healthy weight;

  • The development and long-term maintenance of a positive relationship with food, where food is viewed as something which is enjoyable and beneficial to one’s health, as opposed to something to be feared.

  • The sustainable absence of behaviours which are deliberately intended as self-punishing or harmful – for example cutting, purging, exercising excessively;

  • A subjective sense of wellbeing expressed in physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual terms;

  • Subjective (self-assessed) satisfaction with one’s quality-of-life.

You do not have to have a diagnosed eating disorder to utilise our services. Our services are aimed at benefiting any person - regardless of age, weight, gender, or stage of recovery - who identifies as having issues surrounding food and weight which negatively impact their life. 

RED HOUSE relies solely on donations. Currently no person who works for RED HOUSE receives payment for their time and work. Read more at Purpose and Vision

©  Website created by Mary Jane Lawson. Updated 2019.