ONE in four young people in Australia are likely to experience a mental health issue in their lifetime, and young LGBTI people are almost twice as likely to suffer.

Timely access to mental health support is crucial, with studies showing early intervention can reduce the severity and duration of mental health issues.

ReachOut Australia, the digital mental health service for young Australians and their parents, today launched a new platform providing a one-stop shop for young people to connect to personalised support.

CEO Jono Nicholas was joined by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Telstra CEO Andrew Penn to unveil the mobile-first platform, which was co-designed with 174 young people.

Nicholas said the new ReachOut.com platform connects young people to free, anytime help, and focuses on prevention, self-help and early intervention.

“The new service is designed for and with young people to ensure they can access timely, evidence-based support and guidance,” Nicholas said.

“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.

“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.

“As a purely digital service, ReachOut’s capacity to help is unlimited—no young person will be turned away or asked to wait, ever.”

ReachOut is currently accessed by 1.58 million people every year and the new platform aims to reach an additional one million people over the next three years.

“If you are, or you know, a young person who is struggling with an everyday issue or tough time, then check out ReachOut.com,” Nicholas said.

“The most common concern among young people is coping with stress, but there are many other things that ReachOut can help with.”

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn helped launch the world-leading new platform, which received significant funding through a unique Telstra shareholder donation program.

“At Telstra, we believe in the power of technology and digital innovation to change lives—a vision that we share with ReachOut,” Penn said.

“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.”

If you need support, you can refer to ReachOut.com, or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.

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