Amanda was diagnosed with depression at the age of 27 and experienced firsthand the gap in services for adults over 25 experiencing a mental illness. Being diagnosed with depression was as much a shock to her as it was for her family and friends. It had a huge impact on her life then and the ripple effect continues to this day.
Amanda struggled to find the much needed help and realised that she needed extra support. She spent an afternoon on the phone, online and on hold, and eventually started the Bluebird (formerly GenWHY?) support group.
“Starting Bluebird was a catalyst in my recovery and a much needed light in a very dark place. Depression completely changed my life, who I thought I was and what I wanted out of life but it also made me stronger, more grateful and with a passion for living a life to the fullest”.
WHAT WE DO
At Bluebird, we offer a unique and much needed service. We are here for you where and when you need help.
We are the only organisation in WA dedicated to running support groups facilitated by registered psychologists specifically for adults over 25.
We provide a cost-effective solution to the rising burden of mental health illnesses on the WA Health System and broader economy.
Our program of psychologist facilitated support groups, wellbeing events and networking activities builds the confidence and skills of our members to manage their own anxiety and/or depression and reaches people in need before it is too late.
At Bluebird, we provide the information, tools, resources and inspiration for members to manage and improve the mental health and wellbeing.
We are supported by
The wellbeing of our members is our ultimate focus and main priority.
We are proud to share some amazing stories of courage, hope, acceptance and recovery.
Depression… I never really believed it to be an illness or acknowledged it as one until I experienced it. The first time was in 2006, I locked myself in my bathroom. My boyfriend had just left to go home, and I didn’t want him to leave. I freaked out, I cried, I was scared and I didn’t know or understand why, I could only feel. My mum tried to help me, but I didn’t want anyone but him. It was then that I first felt the real feeling of the “black hole”.
I felt like I was stuck down a well and I couldn’t climb out, and I couldn’t scream for help, I was mute, I was helpless.
It felt like hell. I didn’t really experience another “episode” like this until about two years later. But in that time I endured a physically and emotionally abusive relationship which lasted two years. I’d also injured my back at work, three times in a matter of a few weeks. Looking back now I feel this may have been the catalyst of my depression. The trigger that started it all.
It was a muscular injury so while nothing too serious, I’d never had an injury before. I couldn’t sit for long or stand for long without it hurting and my work duties got cut right down to basically sitting at a desk. I had to do endless physio, hydrotherapy and eventually rehabilitating pilates. My back has never been the same. Not only could I not do a lot of every day tasks without pain, I had to rely on other people to help me do things.
After a stable period I then fell in a hole again and I started seeing a psychologist. And I really wanted to find a group of people who knew to some degree what I was going through, so I wouldn’t feel alone anymore.
I then came across GenWHY, emailed Amanda, and found out the times and went to the next session. I didn’t know what to expect, but at this stage I was desperate. I thought I had tried everything so far that I could think of and this was my last resort to help improve my sanity. It was totally not what I expected. Everyone was so young, and healthy looking. People smiled, if I’d seen them in the street there is no way I would’ve thought they were depressed. I came to realise
Wow, these people are just like me, they want to be happy but they’re struggling too
They understood. They just got everything I said, everyone was nodding and mmming and it felt so good. I felt liberated! Now I go to every meeting I can, I’ve learnt my strengths and weaknesses and I’ve ultimately learnt to put myself first, and I’ve found out exactly what I want.
I now go to the gym 3-5 times a week, walk my dog most days, and just have more motivation to LIVE. Part of me does wonder if I’ll have depression for the rest of my life. Maybe I will maybe I won’t I guess no one can tell me that. All I know now is with the help of my psychologist and my friends, family, boyfriend, and GenWHY, I can now proudly say that I have my depression under control.
I first attended the Bluebird support group in 2014 after experiencing depression and anxiety for around 10 years following a workplace injury and subsequent issues with chronic pain. I have learned over the years to manage my mental health issues using pain management techniques, counselling and medication, but found that attending the support group provided me with a safe place to discuss my experiences without fear of judgement. I have continued to learn from attending the group and the organised activities, and feel like I have contributed to helping other people through the group discussions. I hope that as an ambassador for Bluebird I can contribute to the group continuing to provide support to people like myself.
Finding the Bluebird Support Group in October 2014 was one of the best experiences that have ever happened, since I was first diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety, in April 2004.
The Bluebird group is really awesome and has been wholeheartedly responsible, for my transformation in not only improving my mental health, but maintaining a positive and balanced outlook and approach to life.
Prior to attending the Bluebird Support Group, I had visited a plethora of Self Help and Support Groups, without any meaningful outcomes or significant influences on my life. Well the Bluebird Support Group changed all that!
From the moment you arrive, you are made to feel welcome and gain a sense of belonging, in been openly accepted by your fellow peers, who like me, all have a lived experience. I was able to listen, learn, be inspired, humbled and encouraged by what my fellow peers had to share in the group and from this; I was able to share what was on my heart, without any fears or pretense, as I was finally able, to truly be myself.
What a relief, to finally find a Support Group like Bluebird, where they have a fully-trained psychologist, who is so compassionate, conscientious, considerate and caring to everyone in the room. This creates such a supportive environment, where I was able to be motivated towards discovering personal insights and learning new ways of managing my mental health, I never thought possible.
I cannot emphasize enough, how important on-going psychology, especially in a group setting like Bluebird, has been in keeping me focused and ensuring my recovery journey, continues to progress, in the right direction. I have found the Bluebird Support Group, a very profound and significant influence, on shaping me as an individual and providing me with a true identity, in coming to know myself better and also a very important avenue for acceptance and self belief.
My depression started after a car accident I had in 2004 when I was 26. I was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The diagnosis came as a huge shock to both myself and my family as being a perfectionist, I didn’t think this could happen to me. My depression feels like swimming in muddy water, against the current, almost drowning.
Even though I could be surrounded by people, I feel all alone and no-one can hear or see me. I’m still on the road to recovery from my depression. I have more bad days than good days, but at least I have those good days. It’s hard to believe that anyone could understand how I feel, but meeting people through the Bluebird Support Group has shown me that there are “normal” people out there who completely understand what I’m feeling.
I would encourage anyone who is struggling to take that step and find a support group to help them on their road to recovery.