The evidence behind ReachOut.com
The ReachOut.com Forums are a moderated peer-support community for young people aged 14–25. The forums are intended to assist students to understand mental health difficulties and wellbeing topics, to connect with others, and to learn strategies for better mental health. The forums are a safe space where young people can give and receive help on topics that are impacting their mental health, and where they can go to make sense of the complicated things in their lives and to feel connected to people experiencing the same challenges as themselves.
The ReachOut Forums provide a safe space for young people to discuss topics related to their mental health and wellbeing, and to seek guidance on getting appropriate help when they feel unable to cope with what they’re going through. Some of the key ways students use the forums include:
‘ReachOut is more of a place to find people that have the same problems, and get peer support. Rather than an empty voice repeating the same thing over again, that’s already been said before, ReachOut is different. We all have our different personalities and problems, and we work together to make things work.’ – Forum user
In addition to technical measures that protect personal information and measure community health and risk factors, peers and staff moderate the ReachOut Forums to keep the online community safe.
There may be barriers to students accessing the forums, including not knowing that they exist, not feeling confident about accessing them, or fearing that stigma attaches to using them. As a teacher, you can help your students in a number of ways:
‘I don’t class ReachOut as a helpline, because it’s anonymous and multiple people can help at the same time. And you can’t call people either. Only chatting on a forum.’’- Forum user
‘ReachOut is still the most helpful anything’s ever been to me. And I love helping other users where I can too!’- Forum user
View the ReachOut Forums (desktop and mobile compatible)