Consumer Co-Design for Young People with Eating Disorders


This study operates as both a standalone project to improve service delivery for young people with eating disorders across Queensland, and as a case study for the development of a child and youth-led co-design guide and toolkit for implementation across future Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) projects. It directly responds to an increasing trend in demand for services for young people with an eating disorder for many years. This trend was amplified by COVID-19 impacts in 2020-21, creating unprecedented levels of demand that was unable to be immediately accommodated by existing services.

The project engages co-design and participatory design methods to utilise the perspective and insight of young people to generate strategies for the development of media, services and designs to assist young people in their treatment and recovery from an eating disorder. The project investigates the current experience of services supporting young people with eating disorders, and how we can design resources and approaches to support them for as positive experiences as possible. In engaging this health consumer group, the study utilises an original, trauma-informed research method, Persona-led Co-design, which allows participants to creatively explore design possibilities and draw on lived experience expertise, while avoiding directly reflecting on potentially upsetting prior events.

Study aims:

  • Explore the retrospective perspective of young people in recovery from an eating disorder, of their experience in engaging with the health service from point of assessment up to recovery.
  • Explore opportunities for service improvement that meet young people’s needs relating to eating disorder treatment and support services.
  • Evaluate the application of collaborative methods for co-designing with young people in the area of eating disorders.

Funding / Grants

  • Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (2022 – 2023)

Chief Investigators


External Chief Investigator

Dr Tania Withington, Children’s Health Queensland

Team Members

Jess Cheers, QUT Design Lab Claire Mihalopoulos, Children’s Health Queensland Victoria Brown, Children’s Health Queensland Tania Hobson, Children’s Health Queensland

Related Events


Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ)