Australian first: Eating disorder treatment centre for Coast
A PHILANTHROPIC push is on to help create an Australian-first eating order treatment facility on the Sunshine Coast.
EndED charity co-founders Mark and Gay Forbes have teamed up with The Butterfly Foundation to deliver the intensive treatment facility.
They've put a contract on a stunning property at Old Gympie Road, Mooloolah Valley, for $1.29 million, to create the innovative clinic.
Set on 10ha, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom main house will become the carer's residence, while the existing equestrian facility will be transformed into a sufferers' residence.
Mr Forbes said the ideal number was 12 sufferers at the facility at any one time, and the centre would provide 1.5 carers per eating disorder sufferer.
The intensive treatment program would run for 60 days, and up to 90 days in some cases, while a day centre will also be created, enabling ongoing check-ups and treatments.
Mr Forbes said the vision was to create a farm stay atmosphere with yoga facilities and more and the surrounding community had embraced the plans with open arms.
He said the Mooloolah Valley Pony Club had already expressed interest in being involved, with equine therapy an option to help those battling eating disorders.
A training facility for specialists will also be created to help upskill medical professionals and others who treat eating disorders.
Mr Forbes said misdiagnosis was a significant factor in eating disorders, which were often missed due to overlying anxiety and depression issues.
Mark and Gay's two children suffer eating disorders.
Mr Forbes said there had been widespread support for their project, with Sunshine Coast councillor Jason O'Pray coming on as patron, while Mayor Mark Jamieson has written a letter supporting the project.
Federal MP for Fisher Andrew Wallace, whose family has also been touched by eating disorders, has been a strong supporter of the facility, helping set up meeting with the Federal Health Minister and Mr Forbes.
Mr Forbes said the long-term goal was to have the treatment included as part of Medicare to make it affordable to sufferers who they expected to treat from all over the country.
He said there was well over one million eating disorder sufferers in Australia at present, and the new facility, which he hoped to begin building upon settlement of the property in March, would help assimilate sufferers back into the community as they advanced in their rehab.
"They really isolate themselves," he said.
"We need to get them reconnected with the community."
Cr O'Pray called on local philanthropists to support the project, expecting "plenty of genuine people on the Sunshine Coast" to get behind the facility.