Young people will be able to access a digital one-stop shop for free, anonymous and anytime mental health help with the launch of ReachOut Australia’s new mobile platform today.
Offering gifs, videos, apps, and youth-appropriate advice, the new online resource provides easy access and privacy for those dealing with problems such as bullying, exam stress, sexuality, eating disorders and alcohol use.
Joined by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Telstra CEO Andrew Penn at the Melbourne unveiling of the new digital service, ReachOut Australia CEO Jono Nicholas said any young person struggling with an everyday issue or going through a tough time can get advice in the palm of their hand.
“We know that a staggering one in four young Australians are experiencing a mental health difficulty, and around two thirds of those who need help aren’t getting it,” Nicholas said.
“ReachOut.com provides free, anonymous, anytime help without the need for a Medicare card, and smashes through barriers to accessing services – from cost, transport, and waiting times, to anonymity and of course stigma.”
ReachOut is currently accessed by 1.58 million people every year, with an additional one million expected to log on to the new service over the next three years.
The new platform received funding through a Telstra shareholder donation program.
“Twenty years ago, ReachOut launched the world’s first online mental health service for young people. Today their reach and impact will be amplified through this mobile-first, intuitive and ground-breaking new platform,” Penn said.
Funding was also provided by the Federal Government, which contributed $500,000 to significantly expand ReachOut’s capability to help young people and their parents. Almost $4 million in federal funding has also been earmarked for ReachOut’s mental health and suicide prevention activities over the next two years.