As a society, we are moving toward an ever more online presence. While some members of younger generations loathe using their phones to make a phone call, the importance of exploring other ways in which technology can be harnessed to link people with vital services, such as mental health support, cannot be understated.

According to research, over one million Australians are currently living with an eating disorder, but shockingly, only one in four of those people ever seek treatment to manage their condition. Associate Professor Gemma Sharp, a clinical psychologist and head of the Body Image and Eating Disorder Research Group at Monash University and one of the recipients of the Academy’s 2022 Paul Bourke Awards for Early Career Research is working to change that statistic through the use of AI technology.

In our latest episode of Seriously Social, Professor Sharp introduces the Jem chatbot and the ways in which it is prompting people with eating disorders to manage their illness and seek further help if necessary. Designed with comprehensive feedback from people with a lived experience of an eating disorder and their loved ones, the chatbot aims to be a tool that can fill the gap between the person needing support and their access to in-person treatment options, when those in-person options aren’t immediately available.

Also featured on the podcast is the host of the Butterfly Foundation’s podcast, ‘Butterfly: Let’s Talk’, Sam Ikin, who addresses the barriers that some people with eating disorders face when they attempt to seek help.

Listen here: or anywhere that you get your pods.