About us

‘’The Open Exchange was developed by community leaders from migrant and refugee communities with lived experience of mental illness and expertise in counselling and community education. The Open Exchange responds directly to a call to action from a community articulated need; namely to address social isolation, disconnection and low mental health literacy particularly men from migrant and refugee communities. We are proud to present this work to you.’’


Shankar Kasynathan, Founder – The Open Exchange

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Dwayne is a teenager from remote northwest Australia. If you find his community where it rests just outside the regional town of Kununurra and take a right at the giant crocodile t

It was Jack Trust’s funeral. Several hundred people were filling the community hall in the east Kimberley community of Wuggubun. Many had known the Indigenous leader personally,

Watching kids of the East Kimberley go about their life in the community, one gets a rather uncomfortable front-row seat to the wide disparity that exists between aspiration and op

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Our team

The Open Exchange is led by those with lived experience of psycho-social challenges and working closely with diaspora communities and their organisations, the Open Exchange seeks to build mental health literacy among its participants, through a multi-faceted community engagement approach:


• Empowering community leaders to share a resource with their communities and subsequently in their own language
• Creation of online resources that can be easily shared across different generations of a given community
• Access to counselling services where community leaders in mental health first aid training support individuals to navigate the mental health service system in Victoria

• Development of place-based assets that are safe and accessible, and encourage help-seeking self-led behaviour change 

Shankar Kasynathan

Bruno Spandonide

Vinay Nair

Jagesh Panchal