connectEDspace - support for young people

Young people can face all sorts of pressures – including problems at school, with friends or at home.
connectEDspace is a website by Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV), dedicated to young people to help provide all the information they need to deal with the stuff they go through each day.

Aboriginal Family and Relationship Support

RAV provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and individuals to help strengthen family relationships.

Counselling provides an opportunity to talk with a professionally trained person to discuss couple issues, conflicts with friends, relationship breakdown, parenting, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, grief, sexual problems, childhood sexual abuse, stress and work related tensions and disputes.


Surviving the aftermath of a roadside bomb: Ex-Army Major to talk to Gippsland men about managing their health, wellbeing and relationships

Surviving the aftermath of a roadside bomb: Ex-Army Major to talk to Gippsland men about managing their health, wellbeing and relationships

5 December 2016

Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) has been selected as the lead agency for a newly announced headspace centre in Bairnsdale in Victoria.
The new centre will provide early intervention mental health services to young people aged 12 to 25 years in East Gippsland. They will have access to free or low cost and confidential mental, general and sexual health services as well as education and employment, and alcohol and other drug support services. The comprehensive suite of services will include therapeutic, financial, and drug and alcohol counselling, psychiatric consultations, vocational guidance, help with job seeking and health and wellbeing services for Aboriginal young people.
With more than 68 years’ experience, RAV provides family and relationship support services to help Victorians to achieve positive, safe and respectful relationships.
RAV Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Bickerdike, said RAV had a strong history of providing mental health services and supporting young people and families with issues affecting their wellbeing and relationships.
“We have established relationships with headspace centres in Hawthorn, Greensborough and Knox, and provide an existing family mental health support service for children and young people in East Gippsland,” Dr Bickerdike said. “We know how important early intervention mental health services are and we welcome the opportunity to continue to support young people in a dedicated way through the headspace centre in Bairnsdale.”
With a focus on meeting the local needs of the rural community, the centre will be supported by contract manager Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) and operated in partnership with a consortium of local services: Latrobe Regional Hospital, within Australia, Australian Community Support Organisation, Latrobe Community Health Service, Gippsland Lakes Community Health, MIND Australia, Gippsland & East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-Operative, and Advanced Personnel Management.
Ms Marianne Shearer, Chief Executive Officer of Gippsland PHN is excited to see the development of headspace in Bairnsdale. Ms Shearer said “it will be of great benefit for the community offering youth focussed mental health services. The East Gippsland community have passionately advocated for a service for their young people and it’s fantastic that we are able to assist it to come to fruition.”
Dr Bickerdike said that a Youth Advisory Group had also been established to enable young people to have direct input into the development of the centre and to ensure that the services are provided to young people in a welcoming, supportive, accessible and inclusive way.
“We’re pleased to have a group of enthusiastic and energetic young people involved in establishing the centre, and we look forward to working closely with these young people, our consortium members and the East Gippsland community in providing the headspace Bairnsdale centre.”
headspace has 95 centres currently operating across Australia and also operates an online and telephone service, eheadspace. More than 270,000 young Australians have come to headspace for support, guidance or help over the past 10 years.

Traralgon will host two community workshops in December to help men to reduce stress, improve their confidence and resilience, and communicate better with the people around them.

The one-day “Put Your Hand Up” sessions are facilitated by James Greenshields and are part of a national campaign to improve men’s health and wellbeing. James is an ex-Australian Army Major who recovered from post-traumatic stress after his armoured vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.

Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV), the VRI and the Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House are proud to support the workshops, which were instigated by Bec Olsson, a passionate member of the local community.

Jo Huggins, Senior Manager Gippsland at RAV, said that members of the Gippsland community had experienced some challenging times recently.

“We know that many people in Gippsland have been impacted by recent events or circumstances, including farmers with dairy industry price cuts, and workers and their families following the Hazelwood Power Station closure announcement,” Ms Huggins said.

“When such events happen, people can feel stressed and anxious. This can have a flow on effect that places pressure on relationships. We want to support our local community to prevent this from happening.”

“We’re pleased to support “Put Your Hand Up”. These workshops are designed to help our community to manage these challenges, look after their mental health and strengthen their relationships. At RAV, we know how fundamental healthy, safe, respectful relationships are to health and wellbeing.”

During the sessions participants hear from real people who provide real solutions gained from personal experience.

Ms Huggins said that “it can be really helpful for people to hear how others have dealt with similar situations or challenges and to learn some practical strategies that they can take away and use.”

Although primarily designed to help men improve their mental health and relationships, women are encouraged to attend a “Put Your Hand Up” event.

“Women who have attended in the past have found that the strategies are also relevant to them and their self-care. It’s also a great opportunity to find out more about men’s mental health and wellbeing, and how to support a male partner, family member or friend, particularly when dealing with difficult circumstances” Ms Huggins said.

“I encourage anyone who wants to be inspired, learn practical strategies to cope with difficult times, strengthen their relationships or support someone they care about, to come along.”

“Put Your Hand Up” will run from 9am to 5:30pm on Wednesday 14 December, and again on Thursday 15 December at the VRI in Traralgon. This is a by-donation event: attendance is free, however donations at the door are welcome.

For bookings or more information visit

About Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) 

RAV is a valued provider of specialist family and relationship services. Our vision is for positive, safe and respectful relationships for couples, families, schools, workplaces and communities. RAV provides a diverse range of services to strengthen relationships and social connections from 12 centres and additional outreach locations across Victoria, including in Traralgon and Gippsland.

Media enquiries: Jo Huggins, Centre Manager. Ph: (03) 5175 9500
Media contact: Anna Clarke, Manager Communications and Marketing. Ph: (03) 8573 2222.

Download a PDF copy of this media release.