Fundraiser for Foun­da­tion

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - NEWS -

DE­PRES­SION is a grow­ing is­sue in so­ci­ety and Es­ther Foun­da­tion youth co-or­di­na­tor So­phie Byrnes is no stranger to the dark­ness it can cause.

At age 12, the South Perth res­i­dent started show­ing signs of se­vere de­pres­sion in the form of self-harm.

She said she had no mo­ti­va­tion be­cause she thought that she wasn’t good at any­thing.

“When I was very young I had some ter­ri­ble things hap­pen to me and I was never in the right frame of mind that I could be­gin to deal with the is­sues that arose from that time,” Ms Byrnes said.

“Get­ting out of bed was im­pos­si­ble and I would go dan­ger­ously long pe­ri­ods with­out eat­ing or sleep­ing be­cause I hated my­self so in­tensely.

“By the time I had reached age 14 my par­ents had be­come so des­per­ate not know­ing how to han­dle my sit­u­a­tion that they de­cided they were go­ing to ad­mit me to a psych ward.”

Ms Byrnes’ par­ents found the Es­ther Foun­da­tion, which sup­ports women to over­come life-con­trol­ling strug­gles and is­sues in a safe and struc­tured en­vi­ron­ment, and en­rolled her there.

Af­ter 16 months, Ms Byrnes grad­u­ated from the pro­gram and went on study fine arts and drama.

In 2016, she re­turned to Es­ther – this time as its youth co-or­di­na­tor.

Now, to spread aware­ness of de­pres­sion and its im­pact, Ms Byrnes and other Es­ther par­tic­i­pants and staff will share their sto­ries at the foun­da­tion’s sixth an­nual Women’s Morn­ing Tea on May 4 at the South Perth Civic Cen­tre. Tick­ets are $60 per per­son. All funds will go the foun­da­tion to sup­port its pro­grams.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d481514

Carla Evans, who was a speaker at the Women’s Morn­ing Tea last year, with So­phie Byrnes.

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