ReachOut Schools uses cookies to give you the best experience. Find out more about cookies and your privacy in our policy. fact sheets and stories help young people to recognise signs and symptoms, understand mental health concepts, and get guidance on how to seek help or build skills for coping and resilience. This guide provides information on how they help, and the different ways young people use fact sheets and stories. Get advice from young people and tips from other professionals on using them with young people.

This guide will assist you to:

  • understand the purpose of fact sheets and stories
  • understand how fact sheets and stories influence mental health
  • appropriately use fact sheets and stories to help young people.
Teacher telling story

How fact sheets and stories help fact sheets and stories are designed to help young people recognise and act on symptoms of emerging mental health difficulties. There are three key types of fact sheets that guide help seeking:

  • Recognition fact sheets: Structured to help young people understand what their experiencing and what it could be linked to. I.e. I’m always sad.
  • Definition fact sheets: Explain mental health difficulties and wellbeing concepts, assisting young people to build their own mental health literacy. I.e. All about anxiety disorders.
  • Practical/tactical fact sheets: Provide guidance on what to do or how to build important skills for wellbeing. I.e. Building better coping skills.

Personal stories written by young people assist readers to recognise signs and symptoms, and reassure them that other people have survived mental health difficulties.

How young people use fact sheets

Fact sheets are the most popularly used aspect of Statistics from the 2012 User Profiling Survey indicated that 78% of site users had used fact sheets.

Young people report using them:

  • to find accurate information
  • to understand mental health concepts
  • to find achievable strategies
  • to help a friend
  • as a place to start.

How young people use stories

Stories are the second most popular aspect of, used by 51% of users according to the 2012 User Profiling Survey.

Young people report using stories to:

  • get a young person’s perspective
  • read about similar experiences
  • find achievable strategies
  • find links relevant to their experience.

Young people’s advice

They are a great overview and are linked up to so many other resources too. The factsheets are a great place to start when wanting information on various topics.

- Chelsea, 23

Stories are subjective and not objective, so although you may find them useful, not all the tips/tricks will work for everyone.

- Atma, 24

They can be great to direct young people to because they are set out in a way that is easy to read, and gives the key information that you need to know. But make sure that they realise there is a lot more than what is included in the fact sheets, and it's best to use them as an initial starting point when the young person has no experience or knowledge with it. It's great to let them know that other young people are experiencing/have experienced similar things too.

- Emily, 22

Tips from other professionals

I have used these with youth and young adults. I talk about their concerns and what resources/techniques are out there and then link them onto the ReachOut fact sheets or stories… They are great as they are user friendly. The links the client can click onto are so relevant.

- Chris, Counsellor

I would usually use these with most young people undergoing distress and usually introduce them (usually the fact sheets) as an intervention method that does not require acute or crisis intervention. With my more mature clients, the ReachOut fact sheets allow them to make their own judgements about their issues and the consequences of them. They often come to the next session with (a) a lot more knowledge, and (b) a far more positive outlook on cognitive and behavioural development.

- Matthew, Health Professional

Using this tool

  • Browse the Understanding mental health section for relevant fact sheets or stories.
  • Download PDF copies of useful fact sheets to print for young people.
  • Recommend fact sheets and stories as a starting point for understanding mental health or helping a friend.