Breakthrough Podcast

The mental health conversation has never been so strong. But we need to make sure people are listening.

This podcast series, hosted by Jess Adamson, will feature interviews with courageous people who share their personal stories about their lived experience of mental health issues. It will link these experiences to research by also speaking with researchers to get an understanding of the how and why of mental illness.

Mental illness is going to be the biggest health challenge in our lifetime. It consumes lives. It ruins lives. It takes lives.

But it’s time the question was answered – why does it happen? And more importantly, how can we stop it? Only research will provide the answers and create a life free from mental illness.

Dual Magarey medallist and Sturt premiership captain Zane Kirkwood raised almost $40,000 for Breakthrough by riding 3000km in his Whatever it Takes campaign from Perth to Adelaide in 2019.

He wanted to raise awareness for mental health issues following his own struggles with depression and anxiety and to help break down the stigma.

Zane went on to do the mental health first aid training in order to help assist others with a mental health issue. 

Read more about his story here.

Jess sits down with Zane and Breakthrough Executive Director John Mannion to discuss the importance of sharing stories to help raise awareness and in turn support others. 

If any of the discussion today has raised issues for you, please contact Mental Health Emergency on 13 14 65.


Nine people die by suicide every single day in Australia. 

In 2018, that number included Debbie's daughter Maddy.

Maddy was bright and bubbly and was studying to be a teacher but had depression and severe anxiety. She was bullied relentlessly throughout school and afterwards. She rarely spoke about her mental health to others.

It affected every aspect of her life and she always lived in fear. Fear of all kinds of things, but particularly fear of people judging her. She felt it was too hard, and she was too much of a burden.

In this week's episode, Jess Adamson talks with Debbie about her family's experience and why talking about suicide is so important to break down the stigma. 

Read more about Debbie's story here.

If any of the topics in this week's episode cause distress, please contact Mental Health Emergency on 13 14 65.


The Big Talks for Little People campaign is a joint initiative between Breakthrough and Little Heroes Foundation to raise money for an early learning mental health literacy program. 

Did you know...a child’s friend is the first responder when they are dealing with a mental health issue? About one in seven children between the ages of four and seven have experienced a mental health issue in Australia. 

The program is an online mental health module for primary school age students (7-12 years) within South Australia and the Northern Territory and is complemented with the Friendship Bench to help prompt conversations.

Jess Adamson chats with Professor Phillip Slee, the Flinders University professor who created the program along with Tony Mahar - a school counsellor who implemented the concept stage of the program within his school and saw remarkable results. 

Little Heroes Founder Chris McDermott also joins the conversation to discuss why it's vital to focus on youth mental health.


This is part two of the eating disorders discussion with Jess Adamson, following the conversation with Professor Tracey Wade. 

Elise Thompson was 12 when she fell into the embrace of “rex”, the name she gave to the insidious eating disorder anorexia that first wrapped her in comfort, and then tried to squeeze the life out of her. rex doesn't have a capital letter in its name because it doesn't deserve one.

Elise is passionate about the importance of better mental health research and she works as a psychologist after gaining her qualifications at the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.

If any of the discussion has caused distress, please contact Mental Health Emergency on 13 14 65. 


Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor Tracey Wade has worked as a clinician in the area of eating disorders for more than 30 years and s the director of the Orama Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing at Flinders University.

Her current research interests are in the aetiology, prevention and treatment of eating disorders, with a focus on implementing this research into real world settings to improve outcomes in body image and eating disorders.

If any of the issues raised today in this episode are distressing for you, please contact Mental Health Emergency on 13 14 65.


John Mannion is the Executive Director of Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation and has worked in the mental health arena for more than 30 years.

Along with Professor Steve Wesselingh, the duo discuss with Jess Adamson the importance of research, early interventions and the future of mental health. 

If any of the topics discussed in this episode is distressing for you, please contact Mental Health Emergency on 13 14 65. 


The mental health conversation has never been so strong.
 
But we need to make sure people are listening.
 
This podcast series, hosted by Jess Adamson, will feature interviews with courageous people who share their personal stories about their lived experience of mental health issues. It will link these experiences to research by also speaking with researchers to get an understanding of the how and why of mental illness.
 
Mental illness is going to be the biggest health challenge in our lifetime. It consumes lives. It ruins lives. It takes lives.
But it’s time the question was answered – why does it happen? And more importantly, how can we stop it?
 
Only research will provide the answers and create a life free from mental illness.

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