This March ReachOut Australia celebrates its birthday, marking 19 years as the digital entry point to mental health support for young Australians. When ReachOut launched the world’s first digital mental health service 18 years ago, people had to turn on the internet before going online, and social media and smartphones were a generation away. Today, online tools and systems touch every part of our daily lives: it’s a constantly evolving space that brings many exciting opportunities for e-mental health.
ReachOut CEO Jono Nicholas says, ‘19 years is an amazing milestone. Over the past two decades we have seen technology transform the way we do things, including in mental health.
‘Young people today are digital natives and completely at ease and immersed in digital technology. Services like ReachOut are able to connect with them in their natural digital environment.
‘Digital services can play an integral role in providing coordinated, efficient and effective mental health services with a stepped care approach, where service is matched to need.’
In the past 12 months, ReachOut’s services were accessed by more than 1.58 million Australians. Nearly 300,000 teachers, youth workers and doctors got support to help the young people they work with; 60,000 people accessed our new support for parents of teenagers; and tens of thousands used our apps. At the core of all of this, 148 Youth Ambassadors and thousands more of our service users took part in shaping our work.
‘At ReachOut we know that to get it right we must ensure young people find our digital information, tools and apps are engaging, valued and trusted, and that the user experience is front-of-mind – so we work with them to create our services.
‘We have a great opportunity to use technology to help more young people help themselves, to intervene earlier, and most importantly to do this in a space where they feel comfortable and that is acceptable to them.
‘Thanks to our partners, supporters and volunteers, we’re ready to take the next step and re-imagine the way young people get help for mental health.’
At the end of March, ReachOut will launch its 2017–20 Strategic Plan, outlining our plan to help even more people through digital technologies. To find out more, subscribe to our newsletter below.
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