Beyond Professionals
Young people supporting each other online
Sophie Potter Online Community Coordinator
Gail Phelps Volu...
Young People &
Mental Health
Why ReachOut.com?
• 1 in 4 young people have a mental health issue
• 70% don’t get help
• 75% of all disorders start befor...
“A real challenge exists with our mental
health services at the moment. They're not
easily accessible and we don't have en...
Less than 30% get help
If young people
can’t come to us,
we go to them.
90% of young people
are online everyday
We help by
• Reducing the burden on limited services
• Extend the accessibility of mental
health services
• Improve unders...
Our mission is to
help young people
live happier lives
About the Inspire Foundation
ReachOut.com was the first online youth
mental health service in the world
1992 19981996
2000 - 2008
1997
2009 - 2013
2006
Online tools for
mental health and
help seeking
ReachOut.com channels
Flagship
service
1.3 million
unique
visitors each
year
Facts
sheets,
personal
stories,
videos,
tools...
Flexible approach
Prevention,
promotion and early
intervention
ReachOut.com targets
1. MentalHealth PromotionandUniversal Prevention;
2. Selective andIndicatedPrevention; and
3. Earlyin...
Youth led health promotion and prevention
Does: Does not:
Universal health
promotion
Prevention
Early intervention
service...
How we help: Universal
Forums
Conversations
Sessions and
challenges
help young people connect their
experiences to those o...
How we help: Selected/Indicated
Hearing others’ experience
Threads about getting help
Community participation
helps young ...
How we help: early intervention
Peer mod referral
Threads about
getting help
Online forums
that help young people recogniz...
ReachOut.com forums boost protective
factors, such as:
• Sense of belonging
• Adaptive coping
strategies
• Help-seeking be...
Community forums
Risk Management
• Young people
design, role model &
enforce guidelines:
• Anonymity &
privacy:
• Peer-to-peer
support:
• C...
Peer moderation
Peer mods are vital
… and critical to the success of ReachOut.com by:
• Building community
• Providing peer-to-peer suppor...
Who are these peer mods?
• Currently 16 youth
moderators across
Australia
• All from different
backgrounds
• All with a de...
What do you actually do?
• Contribute to the forums
• Listen to users
• Moderate content and manage risk
• Maintain a posi...
But how do you help?
• Promotes individual experience, but a
shared understanding of that experience
• Places young people...
How do you promote healthy
helpseeking?
• By providing examples of their own help
seeking behaviours
• Using empathy and s...
Working with volunteers
Youth Involvement/Volunteering
• From the beginning, young people were at
the centre of everything Inspire does
• Youth mo...
Youth involvement principles
9/29/2013
Our mission is to help millions of young people lead
happier lives
Involvement thro...
Lessons I learned
• Training is key + follow up
• Documentation usability
• Be available but have boundaries
• Recruit lik...
Measures of success
1.4 million unique visitors to ReachOut.com in 2011/2012, & 664,332
engaged users = 27% increase on the previous year
Almo...
“I never thought that a silly post about my
feelings on an internet forum could end up
being the start to a new change. I ...
2013: Sophie Potter (ReachOut) - Beyond Professionals: Young people supporting each other online
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2013: Sophie Potter (ReachOut) - Beyond Professionals: Young people supporting each other online

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With traditional service delivery struggling to meet the needs of young people’s mental health issues, the Inspire Foundation looks toward new technologies and online communication to provide information and support to young Australians going through tough times. Sophie will discuss how over recent years ReachOut.com has evolved to utilise multiple online channels – including a peer-led online community and social media channels – in its approach to mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention.

These spaces provide a safe, moderated place for young people to ask questions, discuss difficulties and learn from and support each other. Key to the success is managing and supporting a group of 18 volunteer youth moderators. Sophie will share tricks of the trade in recruiting and engaging the right group of volunteers to become community leaders and supporters.

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  • Young people as experts, at the centre. If we listen to them we;’ll be successful and effective. If we go in there thinking we know how to solve or fix problems, we’ll fail. Give meaningful opportunities to have a say and make decisions on the issues that affect them.Give your target audience meaningful opportunities to give back.
  • 1 in 4 young Australians aged 16 to 24 have a mental health disorder (depression, AOD, anxiety)Less than 30% seek professional help75% of all mental health disorders start before the age of 25In Australia, more young people aged 15-24 die from suicide than road accidentsMEDIAN time between onset and treatment is 10 years
  • 90% of young people are online every day (Nielson, 2010), so our approach is to take the help to where young people are. Our forums bridge the gap by:
  • 1992 – Jack’s cousin suicides1996 Inspire is born1998 the first version of Reach Out is launched2000 – 2008 Act Now, Bean Bag, Teachers Network and ReachOut Pro launched. Strategic decision made to stop running Act Now and Beanbag programs etc. 2009 – 2012 – lots of research into young men. Young mens fund developed. EY Report goes live. WorkOut Pilot launched.
  • Suicide rates aren’t accelerating like they once were when Inspire began, but a range of issues I mention earlier continue to prevent young people from getting the that they needFacebook.com/ReachOut_Aus 20 000 fansTwitter.com/ReachOut_Aus7 000 followers
  • J-Law reached 70,000 people
  • There is method and academic research behind what we do!ReachOut aims to prevent and delay onset of mental health disorders, andreduce their incidence and their severity, duration, frequencyReachOut.com is particularly focused on mental health quality of life and and global quality of life. The mental health promotion and intervention spectrumThe spectrum identifies 5 types of program focus areas: (promotion, prevention, early intervention, treatment and continuing care) that can be delivered across 8 audience segments - ranging from universal through to young people in long term treatment or care.By virtue of the open-access nature of the service, ReachOut.com engages young people across the spectrum. Specifically however, ReachOut.com targets 3 areas of the Spectrum:Mental Health Promotion and Universal Prevention;Selective and Indicated Prevention; andEarly intervention.
  • ReachOut aims to prevent and delay onset of mental health disorders, andreduce their incidence and their severity, duration, frequencyReachOut.com is particularly focused on mental health quality of life and and global quality of life. Despite close moderation these spaces occasionally leave themselves open for young people in distress or crisis. We work closely with appropriate partner organisations (including the emergency services) to get young people to the help that they need.
  • Particularly, ReachOut.com targets protective factors that reduce or ameliorate the risk of developing mental health difficulties, and assists young people to understand and use self-help and formal help to address emerging mental health difficulties.Some of the protective factors we target:A sense of belongingAdaptive coping strategiesCommunication skillsMental health literacyHelp-seeking behaviourProblem solving skillsResilienceSelf-efficacy
  • Young people design, role model & enforce guidelines: Trained volunteer youth moderators role model positive behaviours – ensure conversations are positive and identify if there are any issues of concern. They escalate to staff if required.Anonymity and privacy: Users sign-up to comment in the forums. User name and clear guidelines not to post personal information or triggering details – moderators will remove if identifiable info is posted and forum member is contacted. Privacy exceptions if a person is at risk of imminent harm.Peer-to-peer support: Moderation is kept to a minimum and only intervene if guidelines are breached or forum users placed at risk.Clear boundaries & extent of service: Throughout the forum and in guidelines clearly states the extent of service – that it is not a clinical or crisis service and if this level of support is required referral to the appropriate services is provided.Self-moderation: Guidelines inform the culture of the space and outline positive behaviours that are rewarded and encouraged by peers. Feedback from moderators is guidelines are breached and there is a report function community members can use.Technical risk mitigation: Users must register and sign in to post, member accounts display no personal info to others, automatic alert words and phrases notifications to staff, IP addresses can be used in an emergency. Clear escalation processes, through to emergency services.
  • ReachOut.com invests heavily in recruiting and training a group of peer moderators (18 – 25yo) to lead the community. They are supported to become the voice, eyes and ears of the service in the online community. Peer moderators actively work to reinforce expectations and parameters around the extent of service and community guidelines. They also refer on to the appropriate support services and escalate risks up through to professional moderators and staff.Offer hopeMaintain culture
  • 2013: Sophie Potter (ReachOut) - Beyond Professionals: Young people supporting each other online

    1. 1. Beyond Professionals Young people supporting each other online Sophie Potter Online Community Coordinator Gail Phelps Volunteer Peer Moderator
    2. 2. Young People & Mental Health
    3. 3. Why ReachOut.com? • 1 in 4 young people have a mental health issue • 70% don’t get help • 75% of all disorders start before 25 • Suicide is the biggest killer of young people ONSET TREATMENT10 YEARS
    4. 4. “A real challenge exists with our mental health services at the moment. They're not easily accessible and we don't have enough professionals, particularly in our regional, rural, remote communities. Technologies provide us with a way of connecting anyone anywhere with a person who can help them.” AssocProfJaneBurns CEOYoungandWellCooperative ResearchCentre(2012)
    5. 5. Less than 30% get help If young people can’t come to us, we go to them. 90% of young people are online everyday
    6. 6. We help by • Reducing the burden on limited services • Extend the accessibility of mental health services • Improve understanding of mental health difficulties • Decrease stigma and improve motivation to access services
    7. 7. Our mission is to help young people live happier lives About the Inspire Foundation
    8. 8. ReachOut.com was the first online youth mental health service in the world
    9. 9. 1992 19981996 2000 - 2008 1997 2009 - 2013 2006
    10. 10. Online tools for mental health and help seeking
    11. 11. ReachOut.com channels Flagship service 1.3 million unique visitors each year Facts sheets, personal stories, videos, tools, tips, peer support Topics from wellbeing to tough times Component of RO.com 2000 active members 10,000 unique visitors per month Anonymous and private Peer support Discussions range from wellbeing to tough times Daily tips and challenges Text message campaigns last 14 days Each campaign on a specific theme Topics on wellbeing 20, 000 fans Reach young people not engaging with mental health services, Use language and format that is meaningful to them Focus on wellbeing and engagement 149k views Innovative, relevant methods to reach young people with mental health messaging Focus on wellbeing 7,000 followers Innovative, relevant methods to reach young people with mental health messaging Focus on wellbeing and engagement We build apps and tools to help young people Partnership with research teams We assess and feature other tools we assess Wellbeing to tough times
    12. 12. Flexible approach
    13. 13. Prevention, promotion and early intervention
    14. 14. ReachOut.com targets 1. MentalHealth PromotionandUniversal Prevention; 2. Selective andIndicatedPrevention; and 3. Earlyintervention.
    15. 15. Youth led health promotion and prevention Does: Does not: Universal health promotion Prevention Early intervention service Provide treatment One on one intervention Counseling etc. A space for peer support
    16. 16. How we help: Universal Forums Conversations Sessions and challenges help young people connect their experiences to those of others that share and build knowledge / skills for building + managing wellbeing where young people participate in activities that raise awareness + increase understanding about mental health
    17. 17. How we help: Selected/Indicated Hearing others’ experience Threads about getting help Community participation helps young people recognise their feelings and experience + increase their understanding that increase positive attitudes towards help-seeking and the belief that timely / appropriate support can be effective that increases participation in a positive social support network, leading to improved self esteem and resilience and helps young people increase self awareness, self monitoring and problem solving skills
    18. 18. How we help: early intervention Peer mod referral Threads about getting help Online forums that help young people recognize symptoms + provide actionable help that increase positive attitudes towards help-seeking and the belief that timely / appropriate support can be effective that connect young people with a social support network + link young people seeking help to information and services
    19. 19. ReachOut.com forums boost protective factors, such as: • Sense of belonging • Adaptive coping strategies • Help-seeking behaviour • Mental health literacy
    20. 20. Community forums
    21. 21. Risk Management • Young people design, role model & enforce guidelines: • Anonymity & privacy: • Peer-to-peer support: • Clear boundaries & extent of service: • Self-moderation: • Technical risk mitigation: Self Moderation Peer/Pro Mods & Staff Technical mitigation
    22. 22. Peer moderation
    23. 23. Peer mods are vital … and critical to the success of ReachOut.com by: • Building community • Providing peer-to-peer support - empathy through shared experience • Proves there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” • Foster a respectful site culture: focus on the issues rather than individual problem focused • Manage risk by non permissible content – removal or escalation • Strengthen youth participation model, ensuring RO.com is relevant for all young people
    24. 24. Who are these peer mods? • Currently 16 youth moderators across Australia • All from different backgrounds • All with a desire to contribute to the youth mental health community • Each volunteers two hours per week
    25. 25. What do you actually do? • Contribute to the forums • Listen to users • Moderate content and manage risk • Maintain a positive help seeking culture
    26. 26. But how do you help? • Promotes individual experience, but a shared understanding of that experience • Places young people as the experts • Provides peer based empathy and support • Generates positive and constructive conversations
    27. 27. How do you promote healthy helpseeking? • By providing examples of their own help seeking behaviours • Using empathy and support to encourage and promote the importance of help seeking • Providing links to relevant and trustworthy information • Being community role models • Practicing self-care
    28. 28. Working with volunteers
    29. 29. Youth Involvement/Volunteering • From the beginning, young people were at the centre of everything Inspire does • Youth mods are part of a wider YI program • 120 people: RO Film Crew, Youth Editorial Board, ROMP, RO Speakers Bureau etc • Private online community forum for all involved with our YI programs
    30. 30. Youth involvement principles 9/29/2013 Our mission is to help millions of young people lead happier lives Involvement throughout the service design and delivery process A variety of opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways Consider the spectrum of users and include a diversity of perspectives Ask young people what they want and how they want it delivered
    31. 31. Lessons I learned • Training is key + follow up • Documentation usability • Be available but have boundaries • Recruit like you would for paid employment • Offer development pathways • Get anonymous feedback • Model self care practices
    32. 32. Measures of success
    33. 33. 1.4 million unique visitors to ReachOut.com in 2011/2012, & 664,332 engaged users = 27% increase on the previous year Almost 50% of young people we interact with on social channels are young men, those who need us most 50% of these visits take place after 5pm and before 9am 77% of young people who use ReachOut.com register high or very high levels of psychological distress (higher for forums) 75% of young people who used ReachOut.com in 2011 reported that it helped them to better understand mental health issues Nearly half (46%) said it helped them to ask a professional for help
    34. 34. “I never thought that a silly post about my feelings on an internet forum could end up being the start to a new change. I have realized that I can recover from this and I thank you so much for pushing me in the right direction. I feel that I will get through this.” “Veronica”, 19yo, 15th March 2013

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