Mortlake Dispatch
Breaking down mental barriers

TACKLING the pressures of school and social life and breaking down gender structures were among the highlights of mental health workshops delivered at Mortlake P-12 College earlier this week.

The Moyne Shire Youth Council originally proposed the visit from the Reach initiative, with the Moyne Shire Council, The Bird Group/KFC Warrnambool and Warrnambool City Council jointly funding the project.

Shire mayor Mick Wolfe said it was a positive for more remote students to access the Reach program.

“The workshops provide students with strategies and skills they can apply both at school and in their everyday lives in the areas of gender stereotyping, improving body image and self-belief,” he said.

The program saw the Year 9 and 10 male and female students divided into two seperate workshops, with the direction of discussions and activities in the students’ hands.

One of the workshop facilitators Brittany Ferreira said the female students were “fantastic” as they began to open up to each other.

She said a number of participants had reflected on how much better they felt after discussing their personal struggles at the end of the workshop.

Male group co-facilitator Jimmy Rodgers said the focus of the workshop was breaking down the common stereotypes of what boys need to be, with one of the first activities involving them painting their fingernails with red nail polish.

“The boys were very open and vulnerable and showed a lot of courage,” he said.

For more information about Reach or to access mental health resources, visit

To seek personal help or support for a loved one, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Services are also available online at, or