More than 1 in 3 young people in Australia is currently experiencing a mental health difficulty. And, suicide remains the leading cause of death of young people aged 16-24.
ReachOut Australia: supporting young people and their parents when life doesn't go as planned.
After friends and family, the internet is the first place young people turn to for information and support. That’s where ReachOut.com comes in.
ReachOut helps young people feel better about today and the future, no matter what challenge they're facing.
ReachOut provides a safe place where young people can openly express themselves, explore what's happening in their lives, connect with people who understand them, and find resources to help them manage their challenges now and in the future.
Anonymous, free and 100% online, ReachOut has been designed specifically for - and with - young people.
ReachOut Parents and ReachOut Schools also provide valuable information, resources and advice to help parents, carers and educators support the young people in their lives.
ReachOut’s research and program evaluations have shown we are effective in helping young people to understand and deal with issues, to connect with others and feel less alone, and to feel more positive about themselves.
ReachOut is undertaking a program of impact studies to demonstrate that the service also improves young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
A Measurable Impact is the first study in this series.
An independently peer-reviewed study that explores how young Australians engage with ReachOut and how the service has impacted their mental health, A Measurable Impact presents the findings of a longitudinal study that surveyed approximately 2000 ReachOut users aged 16–25 over a three-month period. The study showed:
- an improvement in mental health, including a significant reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress
- reduced suicide risk
- an increase in help-seeking behavior
- 90–95 percent of participants rated their overall experience of ReachOut as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’
- 82 percent of participants agreed that ReachOut is relevant
- 86.7 percent of participants said it was available and accessible.
ReachOut helped users by improving their understanding of their own experiences of mental health and wellbeing, as well as the experiences of others. It also provided practical strategies and tools to support their mental health, connected them with others, and made them feel more positive about themselves.
A second longitudinal study – the Check-In Study – was launched in late 2019 to explore in greater detail the mental health impact of our service for the young people who use it. We’re following a cohort of over 300 young people for a period of three months and checking in with them weekly to learn about their lived experience of mental health issues and their use of ReachOut, to see how their wellbeing is tracking over time. We’re collecting their onsite browsing data so that we can connect their use of ReachOut with their mental health outcomes and better understand what works, and for whom. The study was co-designed with young people and academics from the University of Western Sydney, the Australian National University and the University of Sydney.
Data collection is ongoing, but we’ve undertaken some preliminary analysis of the immediate and short-term impacts of using ReachOut for young people in regional and rural areas of Australia.