In 2022 the Open Exchange, supported by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, finalised the
development of a mental health ally guide for those organisations and services working with migrant
and refugee communities.

The resource harnesses first-hand accounts/insights from the men’s circle that was developed in
Preston: surveys, phone calls and direct interaction. The data also revealed that the participants
were themselves in need of a greater frequency of gatherings – from monthly to fortnightly.

Consolidating this data, and peer reviewed by mental health practitioners from the migrant/refugee
community, a culturally responsive mental health first aid training is now ready for community
leaders and members across metropolitan and regional Victoria in 2023.

Dr. Judy Tang

Clinical Supervisor

‘’In my role as Commissioner at the Victorian Multicultural Commission I witness, firsthand, the importance of holistic community engagement activities for members of our new and emerging communities tackling mental health challenges. The most impactful projects have a strong foundation of partnerships that lead to higher quality, sustainable outcomes. This has been seen by the Open Exchange, well supported by Welcoming Australia. This approach ensures key stakeholders in community are listened to and activity is based on the needs and wants of those with lived experience, through consultative design, delivery and evaluation.”

Shankar Kasynathan

Founder of The Open Exchange

‘’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 amongst particularly men from migrant and refugee communities. We are proud to present this work to you.’’