What do you enjoy most about your role?
What I enjoy most about working at ReachOut and my role is working with a great team who have a shared mission of improving the lives and wellbeing of young people. The team also extends to the Youth Ambassadors and volunteers that are so vital to the work of ReachOut, sharing their stories and lending a hand when we need it. I also feel privileged to hear the stories of young people, whether this is about their lives, their struggles, their great achievements, and the impact that ReachOut is having on their lives.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
It can be really challenging and even confronting to hear stories from young people about their lived experience of mental ill health. However, this is also often countered by the incredible resilience that they demonstrate. I never cease to be blown away by the amazing strength and resilience of young people.
How has the pandemic impacted rural young people?
ReachOut’s recent research report found that the pandemic has impacted the lives of many rural young people when it comes to things like work, study, and being social. Many reported feeling lonely and isolated, increasingly worried about the future, having missed important milestones, and have experienced disruptions to their education and work.
What were some of the key insights into the mental health of young people living in regional, rural and remote areas across Australia released in your latest report ‘Supported, Educated and Understood?’
ReachOut recently released a new report which provides vital insights into the mental health of young people living in regional, rural, and remote (rural) areas across Australia, tracked over a five year period.
From 2017–2021 the report found an increase in probable serious mental illness amongst rural young people from 20.9 per cent to 27 per cent. The data from 2021, in particular, showed that of all age groups included in the research, 18–19 year olds were the group most likely impacted by mental ill health. The report also found a significant increase in the proportion of rural young people concerned about the future, from over 15 per cent in 2017 to over 33 per cent in 2021.
However, the report also shows that rural young people’s mental health literacy is improving. For example, there was a greater awareness of what services are available (including increased awareness of ReachOut from 19 per cent in 2017 to 30 per cent in 2021). Not only were young people aware of the mental health services, but over 53 per cent also indicated a willingness to access online mental health services in 2021, compared to just over 20 per cent in 2017.
Read the full report here.
Do you have any other updates from ReachOut?
This month, ReachOut is calling on people across Australia to Make A Move for mental health in support of youth suicide prevention and their own wellbeing. Make A Move is easy to get involved in. Dedicate just 15, 30 or 60 minutes every day this month to either move your body or improve your state of mind (or a combination of both) and fundraise for this important cause. It’s not too late to get involved, to learn more and register, visit MakeAMove.com.au.
ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents. Practical support, tools and tips help young people to navigate everyday issues and tough challenges.