Latest news | 08 Jun 2021

Australian-First Eating Disorder Recovery Facility Set to Change Lives


More than one million Australians living with an eating disorder have hope for a healthier future following the launch today of the country’s first dedicated recovery centre. Butterfly Residential Care, trading as Wandi Nerida has received more than 660 enquiries from people looking for potential admission for themselves or a loved one.

Wandi Nerida, a purpose-built treatment facility located on 25 acres of bushland on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, which is 100% owned and operated by the Butterfly Foundation, will provide a much-needed bridge between hospital admission and outpatient care. It is set to open its doors to its first cohort of participants on the 12th of July 2021.

The state-of-the-art, 13-bed residential treatment facility will operate under the Butterfly Foundation Residential Eating Disorders Treatment (B-FREEDT) Model of Care© — an innovative approach that works in the Australian context while incorporating universally accepted best-practice clinical care.

Wandi Nerida Executive Director Jodie Ashworth said the opening of an international best-practice facility on Australian shores “will change lives and see Australia join the international leaders offering residential based care recovery for eating disorders”.

“Isolation brought on by COVID-19 lock-down measures has seen a 57 % per cent spike in demand for eating disorder support via the Butterfly Foundation helpline in the past 12 months,” she said.

“It is estimated that only 25 per cent of the one million Australians living with an eating disorder are getting treatment,” Ms Ashworth said.

“At Wandi Nerida, patients will receive a phased treatment structure that addresses both symptoms and behaviour, as well as the underlying perpetuating psychological factors that cause the eating disorder”, Ms Ashworth said.

Wandi Nerida is a term gifted by local Elders of the Kabi Kabi nation that means to ‘gather together to blossom’.

Chair of the Butterfly Residential Care Board Anne Doherty said extensive planning went into both the design and location of the facility to ensure it provides a safe, nurturing and healing environment, while delivering intensive, person-centred treatment.

“The tranquil setting and home-like features of Wandi Nerida will enable participants to envision recovery and their relationship with food when they return to their own home. And, they will also have access to evidence-based complementary therapies such as permaculture (ecopsychology) and equine-assisted psychotherapy,” Ms Doherty said.

Wandi Nerida is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of experts, many of whom have lived experience, with a high client-staff ratio.

Wandi Nerida was officially launched by the Hon David Coleman MP, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. He was joined by the Hon Andrew Wallace MP, Federal Member for Fisher (QLD), along with Butterfly Board and executive and health professionals, corporate sponsors, philanthropists, and eating disorder and mental health specialists.

The Commonwealth Government has contributed $6 million towards the construction and operation   of Wandi Nerida. Ongoing support of public and private donors is integral to ensuring the facility can help as many Australians as possible.

From living with bulimia to nursing team head at Wandi Nerida

Serena Riley lived with bulimia for more than a decade.

She remembers going on her first diet at age 10. Now recovered, the mother of three will lead the nursing team at Wandi Nerida in her role as the centre’s Nursing Manager.

“I was 19 when I finally revealed to close friends and family that I had an eating disorder,” she said.

“Overcome with despair and unable to find the help I needed, I overdosed on medication. As I was rushed into the emergency department, I will never forget the glimmer of hope the nurse was able offer me: ‘I’ve been where you are, and I promise it gets better’. I’m determined to show participants at Wandi Nerida that you can recover from an eating disorder. I’m living proof”, Ms Riley said.



Media Contacts:

Six O’Clock Advisory

  • Siobhan Koopmans – 0430 062 288
  • Jim Stiliadis – 0414 534 703

About Wandi Nerida

Butterfly Residential Care, trading as Wandi Nerida, is Australia’s first residential recovery centre for people affected by an eating disorder. It is 100% owned and operated by the Butterfly Foundation. It provides a safe, nurturing and healing environment for those most in need, delivering concentrated, person-centred treatment. Wandi Nerida provides a bridge between hospital admission and outpatient care to provide an opportunity for a more intensive psychological recovery, finding the ‘healthy self’ amidst the eating disorder.

Editor & Producers Note

Please include the following support line details in all media coverage of this story and refer to the Mindframe Media guidelines for safe reporting on eating disorders. Please include the following helpline message.

Help and Support

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact: