Parliamentarians get hands-on with ReachOut.com
Article by Michael Garnett, Director of Communications and Marketing, ReachOut.com by Inspire Foundation
Young leaders from ReachOut.com took Parliamentarians on a hands-on tour of e-mental health services at Parliament House during August. In a unique event co-hosted with the Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health (PFYMH), the ReachOut.com young leaders showed how their peers get help for mental health difficulties online.
Entering with questions about how online mental health services actually work, Parliamentarians were impressed and engaged as young people sat side-by-side with them, providing practical examples of how to get help.
Five stations around the room showcased a range of young people’s paths to seeking help online. In addition to showing how ReachOut.com provides practical mental health care, members of Parliament were also shown the crucial role ReachOut.com plays in getting young people to further help from providers such as headspace, Kids Helpline and Qlife.
In Annual Survey results released by ReachOut.com on the same day, e-mental health services were found to be helping young people in distress in overwhelming numbers.
“Online mental health services like ReachOut.com are crucial for meeting the growing mental health needs of young Australians,” said Jonathan Nicholas, CEO of ReachOut.com by Inspire Foundation.
“The fact that the PFYMH devoted its second meeting to e-mental health services recognises their important role in Australia’s mental health system, especially for young people.”
“As well as finding practical tools for immediate help, many young people find their way into further support services through ReachOut.com. This event gave us the opportunity to bring this to life for Parliamentarians – to show them how online services work.”
As demonstrated in the Crossroads report released by ReachOut.com earlier this year, e-mental health services are an essential element in rethinking Australia’s mental health system, particularly if the system is going to meet increasing demand for services.
Tuesday night’s event featured a photo wall made up of the Facebook profile pictures of young people who are supportive of e-mental health services. The room also showcased messages from young people about how e-mental health services had helped them, giving weight to the impact ReachOut.com and other online mental health services have on the lives of young Australians.
Special thanks to Senator Penny Wright (Australian Greens), and her co-chairs of the PFYMH Cathy McGowan MP (Independent), Andrew Giles (ALP) and Dan Tehan MP (Coalition) for their efforts in organising the event.
Do you have a comment on this story? Join the conversation on Twitter @AUMentalHealth
Article contributed to the newsletter Perspectives - August 2014. Please note that this article is from an individual contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mental Health Australia