"BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD"
MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDER MARY JANE LAWSON
Bachelor of Health Science (Public Health)
Bachelor of Creative Industries
Diploma of Exercise Science and Nutrition
If you are one of the millions of people world-wide battling with an eating disorder, or the parent/carer of someone with an eating disorder, this website and organisation are dedicated to you. Having battled with anorexia (and bulimia, depression, anxiety, & complex trauma) for 30 years I know first-hand that it can feel like the loneliest, most isolating existence on Earth. I know what it is like to feel so helpless, hopeless, lost, and empty that you cannot bare to exist. I also know that families are left feeling incredibly helpless, scared, frustrated, and desperate, especially in light of the extremely poor outcomes yielded by the inadequate and limited treatment available in Australia and world-wide. During my university studies I meticulously analysed the available peer-reviewed literature on the etiology, treatments, and treatment outcomes of anorexia and other eating disorders. I became increasingly frustrated by the repetitious nature of the research which confirmed my observations, that despite dismal outcomes treatment has barely changed over the 30 year duration of my illness. Worse still, it was hard evidence to back up what I already knew: that both prevalence and death rates have increased markedly in that time. Is this not the epitome of Einstein’s definition of insanity? There must be change.
Anorexia, depression and complex trauma imprisoned me throughout my adolescence, and my 20's and 30's. It robbed me of knowing and becoming the person I would have been had I never been beset by such insidious dis-ease... but it has not snuffed my flame. If nothing else, it has ignited my desire and determination to protect others from similar suffering, loss, and ill-fate. While I have grieved for the "me" I could have become had I not traveled through the darkness of my past, I have had to accept that any alternative was not my calling. I have come to believe there must be a reason for my long suffering, and my survival, and that is what this website and organisation reveal. This is my purpose. It is only in the application of your knowledge, wisdom, creativity, and passion that it becomes internalized, and an integral part of who you are, and I am someone with a wholehearted devotion to improving the system of treatment for those who fall prey to an eating disorder.
If you are one of the millions of sufferers (or families) who feels lost, confused, helpless... and that you have tried everything, RED HOUSE is devoted to you. The sadness that I feel in watching others following in my footsteps is the motivation that drives me to change the way in which eating disorders are both perceived and treated world-wide. My mission is to change the status-quo because it is failing far too many. Even if you do not live in Brisbane or Australia I hope you will join our online community for support, and to give support. You are not alone - here is somewhere to turn. Your voice matters. YOU matter. Please share your story so that you can feel heard, and become part of what I hope will become a worldwide movement. Ultimately, I dream that my vision for the RED HOUSE residential care facility will be made available to sufferers worldwide. To my knowledge, it will be the first and only not-for-profit residential care facility, designed specifically for those battling eating disorders, in the world. While it is boldly ambitious, I know it is the missing link in care that is so sorely needed.
I hope you can benefit from the evidence-based information that I impart on this website. Here is a better way of treating and beating eating disorders. The process of recovery does not have to be such an unpleasant, challenging, and lonely battle. On the contrary, RED HOUSE makes it an enriching and empowering journey. I hope you will benefit from the positive connections and friendships that this website and organisation intend to foster, so that together we can improve the quality-of-life for those suffering from eating disorders (and their families); generate significantly improved long-term outcomes; reduce prevalence rates; and save more lives.
CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO: CHANGING TREATMENT, CHANGING LIVES
The prevalence of people suffering eating disorders worldwide has increased dramatically over the past 3 decades. Around one million people in Australia struggle with a diagnosed eating disorders and many more go undiagnosed. Self-harm among this population is incredibly high, and increasing rapidly. The suicide rate is around 5%. Anorexia has the highest death rate of all mental illness - 20 to 25% - reflecting an approximate 15% increase over the past 20 years. The evidence-base clearly documents the inefficacy of current treatment practices. Research indicates that only 46% of patients fully recover from anorexia, and most of these are at early onset/diagnosis. At least 20% of people with eating disorders remain chronically ill for life.
For almost any other illness these outcomes would be deemed unacceptable by medical and public health professionals, and prompt treatment advancement. Yet, despite decades of evidence proving their inefficacy, orthodox approaches to treating anorexia continue to be applied and often ruthlessly enforced. Due to lengthy hospitalisations, the cost of treatment for anorexia to the Australian health system is second only to that of heart disease. Yet, the short-term (weight gain) outcomes of those hospitalisations are rarely sustained, and thus, they become recurrent. Around two-thirds of those diagnosed with anorexia eventually drop out of treatment because current methods are so ruthless and inadequate. Their repeated application leaves many sufferers traumatised. We desperately need a new approach. We need new prospects. We need a revolution.
"INNOVATION DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN A LEADER AND A FOLLOWER" (STEVE JOBS)
In every field of human endeavour, the more visionary the work the more resistance there tends to be. Innovation is not quickly understood, nor willingly embraced by conformist minds. Hippocrates and Victor Frankl; Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi; Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale; Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs… This is just a sample of those who can be considered true visionaries – true leaders, who even in the face of adversity, rejection and criticism had the courage to fight for their convictions, the tenacity to pursue what they were passionate about, and gumption to follow what their hearts believed in. They had the ability and creativity to think outside the square – to conceptualize not just ways to improve on what is already being done, but to innovate in ways that the world would embrace - and consequently, to change the world for the better. Creativity involves the ability to connect, merge, and stretch - to challenge what currently exists and imagine in better ways of doing things. From these great leaders I have learned that by imagining and believing a better way - and acting repeatedly upon your convictions - that amazing things are possible. They have proven that if you have the persistence and bravery to swim against the tide, and toward a solid truth, there is no telling what new things you can bring into the world, or how it can change.
Mary Jane Lawson, founder and creator of RED HOUSE...
" The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result...
The significant problems we face cannot be solves at the same level of thinking with which we created them."
"I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results."
- Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)
I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy... We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained." - Marie Curie (1867-1934)
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
- Mother Teresa (1910-1997)