Right now, 40% of young people in Australia are living with mental health difficulties.
But there’s an even bigger problem: last year, more than 1 million young people with mental health difficulties did not seek professional support, and suicide remains the leading cause of death for young people in Australia. That means more young people die by suicide each year than by road accident, cancer, or acts of violence.
The good news: we can change this. After friends and family, the internet is the first place young people turn to for information and support. That’s where ReachOut comes in.
Seeking help is a big step, and speaking to a GP or mental health professional can be difficult. That’s why ReachOut is free, anonymous, available 24/7, and has no waitlists.
Designed with and specifically for young people, ReachOut is 100% online, anonymous and confidential, and lets young people connect on their terms.
From one-to-one peer support and moderated online communities, to tips, stories and resources, ReachOut offers a wide range of support options that allow young people to engage in the ways they want to, when they want to.
And because we know that we’re not alone in our ambition to help young people feel better, we support their supporters – parents and carers, and schools – with valuable information, resources, and advice to help them better understand the young people in their lives and to actively play a role in their wellbeing.
We play a pivotal role in the ecosystem of mental health care for young people, but we know we can’t provide the full range of support that’s required. So we work closely in partnership with other services to ensure that young people get the right support for them at the most critical times.
ReachOut’s Online Community
Since 2007, ReachOut has been providing a safe, stigma-free space for young people to share and connect with each other. Our online peer support service was the first of its kind, and since then ReachOut has advised on best practices for other mental health organisations, in Australia and overseas. The service has been meticulously designed to deliver safe and effective online communities, underpinned by robust risk management procedures.
As the peer support community has evolved, ReachOut has worked alongside academics and engineers at the University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney to develop Moderator Assist, a tool that uses natural language processing and AI to assist with risk identification and management.
The online community is free, anonymous and available 24/7 for young people to connect and share their experiences to support each other when life doesn’t go as planned.
PeerChat is a safe, anonymous space for young people to be heard.
ReachOut’s newest service, is a text based chat platform that’s been designed to help young people feel less alone.
Through online chat, young people can talk with a trained peer worker – someone with their own lived experience of mental health or life challenges – to discuss the difficulties or challenges they’re facing, no matter how big or small.
ReachOut's peer workers are trained to support young people so that they feel heard and understood, they gain clarity around what they’re dealing with, and ultimately, they feel better about facing it.
ReachOut has designed a number of platform features to help young people manage their in-chat experience. Starting with the option of some interactive warm-up exercises before the session begins, as well as the ability to hide previous messages during the session or to let peer workers know they need some thinking time, there’s also a quick-exit feature if a young person wants to end the session early. To book or to find out more go to ReachOut.com/PeerChat