In resolving Australia’s mental health crisis, early intervention and prevention is key

30 Oct 2019
This week, one of ReachOut’s philanthropic partners, Future Generation, released the report Australia’s mental health crisis: why philanthropic funders are not answering the call. The report makes an important contribution to how we can increase support for what is an enormous challenge in Australia and globally, mental health.

Future Generation’s report found many private funders believe Australia is facing a mental health crisis; yet, many are not meeting the call to invest in the mental health sector. Interviews conducted with 56 private funders found there were a number of barriers, including the complexity of mental health; duplication across the sector; a need for charities to better measure outcomes, not outputs; and that leadership was required from both government and private funders.

The report drew attention to a significant opportunity to invest in prevention and early intervention, and noted this support is crucial in resolving the mental health crisis. We agree.

In 2019 we have seen two significant inquiries into mental health by the Productivity Commission and the Royal Commission in Victoria. ReachOut’s submissions to these inquiries strongly called for more investment in prevention and early intervention. We must successfully support people to be mentally well and stay well. To do this we must provide greater access to evidence-based, low-cost and high-scale services that boost the capacity of a mental health system that is already struggling to meet demand.

We also agree that mental health charities must better measure outcomes, not outputs, and demonstrate that services really work. Next month ReachOut will release findings of the largest impact study we’ve ever invested in. These findings – which have been independently peer reviewed – will show the work we do has a measurable impact on the reduction of depression, anxiety and stress in young people. These findings are in addition to the powerful evidence we already have on our effectiveness to help young people feel less alone and more connected, to understand what they’re going through and increase their readiness to seek further help, when needed.

As the Future Generation report makes clear, private funders, government and mental health charities all have a role to work together to show leadership, and to deliver investment and services that respond to Australia’s mental health crisis.

Ashley de Silva
Chief Executive Officer

You can access Future Generation’s report by visiting

About ReachOut

ReachOut is an online mental health and wellbeing service built with young people, for young people, and visited by more than 2 million Australians each year.  We offer trusted information, self-help, peer support and pathways to other services for further help.  We also support the people young people turn to, including friends, parents and carers, and schools and educators.