Case study: Reach Out

by Tuyet Ngo on Tue, 2011-03-22 12:55
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Name: Reach Out
Website: http://ie.reachout.com/about/reach-out
Location: Ireland
Mission: To improve young people’s mental health and well-being by building skills and providing information, support and referrals.

Background and aims:

Reach Out is a web-based service that inspires young people aged 16-25 to help themselves through tough times and find ways to improve their own mental health and well-being. Reach Out is run by the Inspire Ireland Foundation. The Inspire Ireland Foundation was established in Australia in 1996 in direct response to Australia’s then escalating rates of youth suicide. Combining technology with the direct involvement of young people it delivered an innovative and practical online programme that helps prevent youth suicide and improves young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Three key criteria identified by McKinsey & Co determining the Reach out service’s applicability to Ireland are: a clear mental health need and high level technology and media consumption.

The innovation        

Reach Out offers comprehensive and in-depth information on mental health issues for young people. It isalso provides a safe space where young people can engage with each other on issues that affect them – from drugs and alcohol to suicide and self-harm, from exam stress to bullying. The service encourages the young people to seek professional help, help-seeking and facilitates connections between young people so they can share their stories and support each other in a positive environment. Reach Out uses social media and new technologies to help prevent youth suicide and improve young people’s mental health and well-being.

Key ingredients

Reach Out created the Youth Involvement Programme to get young people involved in the development of the programme. This includes testing the site, taking different roles such as the ambassador, member of editorial board, spokesperson or online community builder.

Reach Out also organises an internship programme providing opportunities to individuals who are creative and passionate about helping young people lead happier lives. This internship gives students the opportunity to experience working in the sector while focusing on large scale Reach Out projects aligned with their studies. The knowledge and experience they can bring to Reach Out will provide an invaluable impact on the Reach Out service.

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