The Founder - Mary Jane Lawson
Mary Jane with her niece Mille
RED HOUSE Australia was founded by Mary Jane Lawson and has been in development since 2006. Mary was born and grew up in Brisbane, Queensland. As a result of traumatic events throughout her childhood she developed anorexia in 1987 at the age of 12. Mary was hospitalised for the first time in 1988, with dire consequences of compounded trauma and exacerbation of her illness due to inappropriate and draconian treatment regimes. While secondary schooling was interrupted by illness, complex trauma and multiple, intermittent hospitalisations, Mary completed year 12 at St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in 1991.
Following 30 years of recurrent hospitalisations for anorexia (binge-purge subtype with exercise addiction), depression, anxiety and complex trauma Mary became increasingly frustrated with the limitations and ineffectiveness of, and gaps in services for people with eating disorders. This motivated her to return to university in 2006 to attain a degree in Public Health with the intention of becoming instrumental in the improvement of quality and effectiveness of service provision for people with eating disorders and other mental illness in Australia. Mary has a bachelor of Health Science (Public Health) (with honours), a Bachelor of Creative Industries (with honours), and a Diploma of Exercise Science and Nutrition. She has also completed coursework in Exercise Science and Nutrition; Mental Health Practice, Mental Health First Aid; and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Mary has spoken at a number of lectures, on the topic of treatment for eating disorders, for psychiatric registrars at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. She has been involved in the Anorexia Nervosa Genetic Investigation (ANGI), including as a media spokesperson with Professor Nick Martin (QIMR Berghofer). With our strong emphasis on the epigenetic causes of eating disorders RED HOUSE is following the progress of the investigation so that we will be able to harness the benefits of the findings in our practice.