A report released today by ReachOut Australia and EY, A Way Forward reveals that the missing piece of the puzzle for addressing escalating youth mental health issues may lie in smart investments in existing online services.

In Australia, 1 in 4 young people are experiencing a mental health difficulty, yet more than 70% do not get the help they need. In a system struggling to cope with existing demand, getting the right help to more people remains a key challenge.

According to exploratory analysis presented in A Way Forward, providing e-mental health treatment to 10,000 people using online services could cost as little as $9.70 per consumer, per year, with the costs reducing as more people use the service. Additional investment into online support services would immediately boost the current system’s capacity to respond to a greater number of young people.

ReachOut Australia’s CEO Jono Nicholas recognised that the future of Australia’s mental health system lies in creating a stepped care model that connects all existing mental health services – a key theme of the Mental Health Commission’s recently released Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services.

“Face-to-face support and treatment is equally important; however, there is a clear opportunity for online services, which are a first step for thousands of young people, to play a greater role in providing more help right now and reducing the demand on one-on-one services across the mental health system.

“More than 70% of young Australians use the internet more than once each day. E-mental health services have the scalability and response capability to help quickly address the current and future needs of young people who require support, no matter where they are in Australia. Online services that focus on prevention and early intervention, such as ReachOut, increase a young person’s self-help capacity and deliver low-cost, evidence-based tools that can be easily accessed.”

Tony Johnson CEO of EY Australia said “Organisations need to work harder to raise awareness of mental wellbeing in the workplace. It is in the employer’s interest to invest in resources and programs that are easily accessible by all employees to ensure they have the best chance of succeeding both in life and at work.

“Our research shows that if our mental health system continues down its current trajectory, Australia will need to invest $9 billion in salaries alone for our mental health workforce over the next 15 years in order to double the number of people receiving help. We cannot afford to risk losing another generation to the lifelong effects of poor mental health.”

Mr Nicholas added “We have the opportunity to integrate effective and scalable services that will boost capability and capacity without dramatically increasing the cost to our existing system.”

Download A Way Forward: Equipping Australia’s Mental Health System for the Next Generation (PDF 2.2MB).

About ReachOut Australia

ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people, providing practical support to help them get through everything from everyday issues to tough times.

Since 1998, ReachOut has worked alongside young people to deliver online tools that address youth mental health and reduce youth suicide. Available anytime and pretty much anywhere, ReachOut receives over 1.85 million visitors a year.

About EY Australia

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders.
In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

Media enquiries

Jesse Krncevic: 0466 813 066, [email protected]

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