Focus on mental health reform welcome but greater support for young Australians must be designed to meet their needs

16 Nov 2020

Today’s Productivity Commission report is a step forward for mental health reform in Australia. ReachOut is ready and willing to work with the Government to ensure that services for young people are effective, adequately funded and appropriately targeted.

The Productivity Commission correctly identifies that prevention, early intervention, stigma reduction and expanding the role of peer workers are key elements of a modern mental health system. However, to properly address Australia’s mental health crisis, there must be a well-funded support system that young people can and will access.

Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut said that a large number of young people are unwilling to access traditional or face-to-face services and that Australia cannot have a one-size-fits-all model for mental health services.

“For the proposed reforms to be effective in supporting the mental health needs of young Australians they must be designed with younger people’s service preferences in mind. The evidence tells us that young people often do not recognise they are going through a mental health issue and that they are most likely to turn to support from their peers, their parents and online.

“ReachOut’s research shows that services for young people must be delivered online and include a strong focus on peer support and support for parents.

“While it is encouraging to see the strong focus on the need to address the shortcomings of the current mental health system and recommendations for changes that will support the needs of most Australians, it is vital that we get reform of the system right for everyone.

“2020 has been a year like no other, with bushfires and COVID-19 resulting in a groundswell of demand for mental health services from young people. We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of further funding for mental health to come in the 2021 budget and stand ready and willing to work with the Government to ensure that it is delivered in a way that will be effective and meet the needs of young people.”

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About ReachOut 

ReachOut is the most accessed online mental health service for young people and their parents in Australia. Their trusted self-help information, peer-support program and referral tools save lives by helping young people be well and stay well. The information they offer parents makes it easier for them to help their teenagers, too.

ReachOut has been championing wider access to mental health support since they launched their online service more than 20 years ago. Everything they create is based on the latest evidence and is designed with experts, and young people or their parents. That’s why ReachOut is a trusted, relevant service that’s so easy to use.

Accessed by more than 2 million people in Australia each year, ReachOut is a free service that’s available anytime and pretty much anywhere.