Support group fills gap in Freo

GenWhy? founder Amanda Stephenson. Picture: Andrew Ritchie                  d440860
GenWhy? founder Amanda Stephenson. Picture: Andrew Ritchie                d440860

GenWhy? was founded in 2009 by Balcatta resident Amanda Stephenson after her own battle with depression and fruitless attempts to find support.

Ms Stephenson was diagnosed with depression when she was 27, beginning a sequence of events she described as the hardest and most frustrating process she had ever been through.

�My friends and family were a great support but it was very difficult for them to really understand what I was going through which added to the burden of experiencing a mental illness.

�I felt isolated, alone, frustrated and the only person who was going through something like this.�

Ms Stephenson began seeing a psychologist, regulated her sleep, exercised and ate healthily. She was willing to do anything to get better.

�Eventually after making some really good friends I started to tell people about my depression,� she said.

�But I really wanted to find other people just like me that I could talk to, people who would really understand and relate.�

Her search for people in a similar situation went unrewarded until a column she wrote appeared in a Perth newspaper.

She says she was inundated by people just like her sharing their story, people who had also been searching for the same thing.

It was at that point she realised she was not alone and she needed to do something to fill the gap in services.

And so GenWhy? was founded.

Since 2009, with initial seed funding from WA Charity Direct, Ms Stephenson�s support group has become a self-funded charity.

Meetings are chaired by a qualified psychologist, and offer participants the chance to meet other people who are experiencing similar issues.

�The Fremantle group will fill quickly as we have had overwhelming interest,� Ms Stephenson said.

The City of Fremantle said the project is filling a gap in the service mix. Phone 9364 6909 or visit www.depressionwa.org for more.