#49: CEO Series Part 3 with Butterfly Foundation CEO Kevin Barrow

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 Thanks for listening to another episode of It Ain’t Weak to Speak with Sam Webb. Please rate the podcast and leave a review if you enjoyed it. 


My guest on the show today is Kevin Barrow, CEO of Butterfly Foundation, an incredible not for profit organisation whose mission is to see all Australians living free of eating disorders. Through their national hotline, support services and early intervention programs, they work to raise awareness, reduce stigma and bring hope to people battling eating disorders and body image issues.

In this episode, Kevin shares how he came to be part of Butterfly Foundation and the culture of ‘passion for the purpose’ that exists within the organisation. We talk about the stigmas surrounding eating disorders and how they are working to raise awareness in the community to bring about real change. 

Kevin talks about some of the signs to look out for particularly in young people and that early intervention is the best way to prevent an eating disorder from developing. We talk about the importance of sharing lived experience, the role of social media and some of the challenges Kevin faces as CEO of a not for profit organisation. 


[1:00]: Kevin’s work background and how he came to be the CEO of the Butterfly Foundation

[4:45]: The tragic story of a young boy who commited suicide at Kevin’s son’s school and how once Kevin Joined Butterfly, he had many people sharing their lived experience with him

[6:00]: The stigma around eating disorders and that Kevin is now able to be a safe place for people to open up

[7:30]: The vision of Butterfly that all Australian’s will live free of eating disorders and the work they do in primary years to build resilience and confidence

[10:00]: The number of people calling the national hotline went up astronomically during 2020

[11:30]: Eating disorders are a lot more prevalent than people think and if you can identify a disorder early, the more likely it is to help a person

[13:30]: The warning signs to look out for in loved ones and that eating disorders impact both men and women

[15:30]: Eating disorders are prevalent in people of all walks of life and that unfortunately the community attitude is that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice

[18:00]: The role that social media is playing for young people in the space of mental health and that we need to educate young people how to manage it

[20:30]: The role of genetics and environment that play into eating disorders

[22:00]: Picking up the signs early, family based therapy and bringing hope to people by sharing lived experience are all important aspects of helping people with eating disorders

[25:00]: The frustrations of state and federal funding and the stigmas surrounding eating disorders and mental health challenges

[27:00]: There is so much work to be done, but saving just one life is worth it

[29:00]: The upcoming programs including one focusing on early interventions in primary schools 

[30:30]: During Covid, they were able to provide online programs to help people who wouldn’t be able to find help otherwise

[32:15]: Working closely with other organisations is so important to get the message across to a wider audience

[34:30]:The importance of listening to people with lived experience and honing in on the things that will really make a difference

[36:00]: Passion for the purpose and valuing everybody’s different perspectives creates an environment where the foundation can thrive

[38:00]: Passion is necessary but not sufficient because people need certain skill sets but also understand what they’re trying to achieve  

[40:20]: Working at Butterfly has brought Kevin closer to the people around him in understanding what others are going through and what’s important in life


Website: https://butterfly.org.au

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If after listening to this episode and you don't quite feel right or you want to reach out to someone to speak to, we have provided some useful resources below. 

For immediate support please call one of the following 24/7 hotlines. Someone will be ready to take your call. Remember, ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’

If you are in Australia:

Emergency: 000

Lifeline: 13 11 14

+6Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

If you are in the United States:

Emergency: 911

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text LIVIN to 741741 in the United States

If you would prefer to speak with someone face-to-face, we recommend visiting your local GP (doctor) who will be able to have a chat with you about what is going on in your life and refer you to a mental health professional if required.

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