Illawarra woman to speak about postnatal depression at Women’s Adventure Film Tour

A Wollongong bushwalker will share her struggles with postnatal depression at a film evening aimed at empowering women, at the University of Wollongong on Thursday.

The Women’s Adventure Film Tour rolls into town as a celebration of females doing extraordinary things and to encourage others to lead an adventurous life.

Founder of Bushwalk The Gong Jenae Johnston will tell her story during the selection of short films and explain how getting outdoors helped her immensely.

“It’s really high the amount of people who suffer from depression and anxiety so it’s a big chunk of the Illawarra that’s feeling that way. So [if part of the treatment] is getting out there and into nature then it should be encouraged,” she said.

“[The film tour] is nice for the whole family to get a nice balanced view instead of watching Krusty Demons; they’re watching women rock climbing and cliff diving and whatever crazy things they get up to.”

The mother-of-two first experienced depression after her second child, and while that was over 10 years ago Mrs Johnston still needs to manage anxiety to stop herself from relapsing.

It’s not something you can “just shake off” like a common misconception, she said, likening it to scar tissue.

Getting outdoors is one of the things that has helped Mrs Johnstone manage her mental state, with her top three activities being meditation, yoga and bushwalking.

DETERMINED: Bushwalking is one of the things that helps Jenae Johnstone combat anxiety, she'll be sharing her story at the Women's Adventure Film Tour on Thursday.  Picture: Sylvia Liber

DETERMINED: Bushwalking is one of the things that helps Jenae Johnstone combat anxiety, she'll be sharing her story at the Women's Adventure Film Tour on Thursday. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Later this month she’ll embark on the solo trip of a lifetime trekking through Nepal and doing yoga classes in an ashram. 

“Instead of turning 40 and going to Greece and getting drunk, I’m going to Nepal and leaving behind all my dignity and taking lots of rolls of toilet paper and baby wipes,” she laughed, also admitting her anxiety levels were through the roof.

“I’ve been having nightmares and like mini-panic attacks but I’m used to these sensations and feelings before it escalates to something that’s out of my control – I've learnt to manage it.”

Gnarly In Pink. Picture: Supplied

Gnarly In Pink. Picture: Supplied

During the film night Mrs Johnstone will also broach the subject of body love and encourage women to feel at peace with their belly rolls or the fact their clothes are from Aldi.

“I’m in the space of Instagram where I guess I say loosely I’m competing with all the 20-year-olds in bikinis and g-strings standing under waterfalls, where I’m like ‘yeah, don’t look too close to my face’,” she said.

“I don’t care if you’re not following because my bottom’s not on this post, follow me because you like the picture of the tree.”

Women’s Adventure Film TourUOW UniHall (building 11) next to carpark 8, Thursday October 12, 7pm. Tickets via 


The film selection of Australian and New Zealand female focused films come from the Mountainfilm festival in Colorado. 

Mountainfilm uses the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world. Launched in 1979, Mountainfilm now tours five continents and seen by more than 70,000 people.

The films have been chosen to show awesome women achieving their adventurous goals with real stories about women from a variety of cultures and sports around the world.

It’s co-presented with She Went Wild, an online community to inspire women to start their own adventures and highlight those in the world who already do so.

This story How the outdoors helped this mother with postnatal depression first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.