Referring to

Referring to can be a good first step for young people who are not sure where to start with concerns about their mental health. Find out more about the evidence for, the benefits and impact of online services, and when and how to refer a young person to can assist with:

  • recognition of signs and symptoms

  • mental health literacy

  • coping skills and resilience

  • reducing isolation

  • providing a support network

  • helping friends.

Girl talking to adult male

ReachOut is the most-accessed online mental health service for young people and their parents in Australia. Our trusted self-help information, peer-support program and referral tools save lives by helping young people be well and stay well. The information we offer parents makes it easier for them to help their teenagers, too.

The evidence for is built on a strong mental health framework that emphasises health promotion, prevention and early intervention – designed to intervene early in the development of mental health disorders among young people. For more information on’s evidence and framework, read the evidence behind

The benefits and impact of online services

Online services have a number of benefits for young people, allowing them to access support in ways that are comfortable for them. is anonymous, available 24/7, and on any internet enabled device. In fact, 40% of’s users access the service at times when face to face services are closed.

The annual national survey conducted by ReachOut Australia has found that young people in distress look for help online rather than seek help from a mental health professional. The cross-sectional study of 3,600 young people under 25 found that 75% of participants were experiencing high to very high levels of psychological distress at the time of visiting, yet the majority of them (60%) had never accessed professional help.

Most young people who reported visiting during a 'tough time' said that it provided the information they needed (91%) and that it helped them deal with the issue they were experiencing (72%). Of those experiencing high levels of distress that had not sought help from professional services, 29% were more likely to seek help from a medical doctor, and 41% said they were more likely to seek help from a counsellor, therapist or other mental health professional after visiting

Referring a young person to is an important referral pathway for young people, as it provides contextual information that helps young people to recognise symptoms and understand emerging mental health difficulties – building up knowledge and capabilities for acting on mental health difficulties. It also connects young people to a 24/7 support community, able to guide them when they are struggling.

Referral is appropriate for young people who are looking for guidance and information, who are in need of peer support, or who are seeking information to help a friend.

  • Refer young people who are struggling to cope with life stressors.

  • Discuss with young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties.

  • Download relevant fact sheets for easy referral.

What can I do now?

  • Read about using the ReachOut Forums.

  • Read about providing adjunct support for online services.