Online youth mental health organisation ReachOut said that the Raising the bar for youth suicide prevention report Orygen released today confirms that the role of technology in youth suicide prevention is critical. ReachOut urged the Government and Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to continue their work in integrating digital mental health services for young people into the broader service system.

Speaking in support of the report today, ReachOut CEO Jono Nicholas said:

“This report confirms the critical role of technology and digital services in suicide prevention for young people.

“Young Australians spend a lot of time online and see the internet as an important source of information and advice, so technology is a great way to engage them in the treatment and management of their mental health.

“Online self-help services are also relatively low-cost and scalable, which means they can help large numbers of young people at the same time at a low cost compared to traditional mental health services.

“This report shows why the Government and PHNs needs to continue its work in implementing long-overdue reforms to mental health service delivery, and calls for full integration of scalable digital self-help with broader mental health services as an essential component of the stepped care model.

The report also recommended that online platforms should add value to young people in their engagement with support and services and not be an additional barrier to accessing support.

“Young people face a number of barriers to accessing traditional mental health services including negative attitudes towards help-seeking, cost, transport, waiting times, fear of breaches of confidentiality and a preference for self-reliance.

“Instead of asking young people to overcome all these barriers in order to get help, it makes more sense to deliver help to young people in a private, convenient, low-cost and timely setting via digital self-help.

“A trusted digital service like ReachOut.com which is accessed by more than 1.5 million people per year means that young people can get help without having to worry about cost, transport or finding the time and waiting for an appointment.

One Click Away? Insights into mental health digital self-help by young Australians, a report by ReachOut and EY, surveyed 2000 young people aged 16–25 who accessed the ReachOut service four times over a three month period for a range of issues, with the majority coming for support with anxiety (30 per cent) or depression (35 per cent).

Of the young people who participated in the study:

  • 68 per cent of young people said that ReachOut helped them work out what they needed
  • 7 in 10 reported that ReachOut made it easy for them to help themselves
  • two out of three said ReachOut gave them practical suggestions and tools
  • 64 per cent said it helped them understand their experiences.

Need to talk to someone right now?

National 24/7 crisis phone support for young people is available from Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Suicide Callback Service (1300 659 467), and Lifeline (13 11 14).

Young people can turn to ReachOut.com from anywhere and at any time for free self-help tools, information, and a peer support forum.

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