ReachOut.com is Australia’s leading online youth mental health service. It’s the perfect place to start if you’re not sure where to look. Every year it helps hundreds of thousands of young Australians with information support and stories on everything from finding your motivation, through to getting through really tough times.
With a mobile-friendly site and forums, you can access help, info and support no matter where you are. Everything on ReachOut.com is created with experts and young people, so you can be sure to find stuff that’s not only evidence-based, but is also relevant to you. It’s got tools and tips to make everyday life just a little easier, and if you can’t get the help you need on ReachOut.com, we have links to a number of other great services that exist for young people in Australia.
ReachOut.com is an initiative of the Inspire Foundation, an Australian non-profit with a mission to help young people lead happier lives. Inspire exists because mental health difficulties are one of the biggest challenges of our time: one in four young people will have a mental disorder, and suicide is the leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24 in Australia.
What's on ReachOut.com?
You can find all the information you’re looking for by checking out our many different articles. These include:
- Fact sheets - find expert information on how you can tackle life’s challenges and become mentally fit and resilient.
- Stories - explore stories from other young people who have shared their own experiences, from everyday life through to really tough times
- Feature stories - check out more in depth investigations into the issues facing young people
- Forums - chat to other young people about your own experience, and share your approach and ideas for tackling tough times and getting the most out of every day.
- Videos - watch videos that feature stories and interviews from loads of different people.
The history of ReachOut.com
ReachOut.com’s story started back in 1992, when a young man took his life on a farm in north-eastern Victoria. This young man happened to be the cousin of Jack Heath, who at the time was working in Parliament House as a Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister, Paul Keating. Following the suicide of his cousin, Jack decided to work on a way to reduce youth suicide in Australia. It was out of this experience that ReachOut.com was born.
Young people are at the centre of ReachOut.com
When trying to make sense of his cousin’s suicide, Jack was inspired by the idea that young people could be connected with comprehensive resources and support through the media they use. With this support, he believed lives could be saved and young people’s mental health and well-being could be improved. Jack launched the Inspire Foundation in 1995 and thanks to $200,000 raised by young people through the Triple J Real Appeal, Inspire launched the ReachOut.com website in 1998.
Youth involvement has been an important part of the Inspire Foundation since the first ReachOut.com Youth Advisory Board was held in 1998. To ensure ReachOut.com stayed relevant and true to Australian young people, the ReachOut.com crew established a youth involvement program in 2000, ensuring that young people were included in the evolution of the site. Since that time over 700 young people have participated in our formal youth involvement programs and many more young people have been involved in other ways.
A constantly evolving service
The forum was added in 2004 after some of the ReachOut.com Youth Ambassadors recognised that young people needed an outlet where they could get support from other young people in a safe, moderated environment. The site was redeveloped in 2009 in order to further strength and expand the ReachOut.com community.
Over the years, ReachOut has helped thousands of young people who are going through a tough time. Last year alone, ReachOut.com helped over 500,000 young people get through a tough time. Through learning about other people’s struggles by reading stories, and gaining a greater understanding of mental health and well-being through fact sheets, young people feel confident they have the knowledge to seek help. Gradually through encouragement and getting armed with the facts they have become confident enough to speak with a counsellor or see a doctor – get the help they need, and in turn encourage new users to reach out for help.
In 2012 ReachOut.com re-launched on a new, future-focused technical platform, and we will continue to innovate and change to ensure it is delivering the best possible service to its users.