Eating disorder clinic – Wandi Nerida opens in Mooloolah


By Sonia Isaacs Clark

ABOUT 100 guests attended the recent official opening of the Butterfly Foundation’s Wandi Nerida, Australia’s first dedicated recovery centre for people living with an eating disorder.
Located in Mooloolah Valley, Wandi Nerida is a term gifted by local elders of the Kabi Kabi nation that means to “gather together to blossom”.

The facility will be the first residential recovery centre in Australia. The state-of-the-art 13-bed residential treatment facility is set to open its doors to its first participants on July 12.
The official opening, which was livestreamed across the country, included the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention David Coleman, Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace, Kabi Kabi elders, as well as representatives from the Butterfly Foundation and EndED, health professionals, local community supporters and sponsors.

Mr Wallace said the opening marked the happy culmination of six years of incredible hard work and collaboration by the local community, EndED founders Mark and Gay Forbes, philanthropists Roy and Nola Thompson and the Butterfly Foundation and dozens of local businesses who stepped up to offer their support.
“The Sunshine Coast has truly come together with the support of the Morrison government to create something life-changing here in our community,” Mr Wallace said.

The facility will allow participants to rediscover their authentic self, while overcoming an eating disorder in a safe, nurturing and healing home-like environment, that also delivers intensive, person-centred treatment.
One of the unique aspects of the centre will be the high client-staff ratio, staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of experts, many of whom have lived experience of an eating disorder. Staff members, recovery navigator Laura Zuber, who was MC at the opening, and nurse unit manager Serena Riley shared commentary and insights into their own lived experiences during the event.

Mooloolah resident Serena said she was excited that this Australia-first facility was located in the lush surroundings of Mooloolah, and she had no doubt that the beautiful natural setting would prove therapeutic to attending participants.
“With 25 acres, we also have all the space we need to offer additional evidence-based complementary therapies such as permaculture and equine-assisted therapy,” Serena said.

Serena, who has lived with bulimia for more than a decade before her own recovery, understands the vital importance of having a facility like Wandi Nerida, which would provide hope and support in recovery that was previously unavailable in Australia.
She is pleased that the facility will pave the way for plans to establish a centre in every state and felt honoured to be able to support others in their recovery.
“My own journey and recovery led me to want to help others by becoming a nurse specialising in eating disorders,” Serena said.
“By having transparency about my own lived experiences, I can offer a glimmer of tangible hope to participants and show that I’m living proof that they can recover.”

Wandi Nerida is located at 228 Old Gympie Road Mooloolah. For more details go to www.butterfly.org.au/wandi-nerida
Anyone needing help or support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact the Butterfly national helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) or email support@butterfly.org.au. For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14.

Craig Johnson, Sarah O’Neil, Wandi Nerida equine manager Ines Charouni,
Wandi Nerida nurse unit manager Serena Riley and Serena’s partner Ryan Hill
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