ReachOut.com is the Inspire USA Foundation’s primary online platform and avenue of outreach. ReachOut.com was launched on March 1, 2010 to help American teens and young adults get through tough times.
ReachOut.com is a place where teens and young adults can improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, build their coping-skills and increase help-seeking behavior. It provides evidence-based information and supports, real life stories and the ability to connect and contribute in a safe and supported community.
ReachOut.com connects with young people in ways traditional mental health services never could, at a fraction of the cost. It provides a critical early intervention to prevent small problems becoming big ones. It builds meaningful connections and complements existing services. ReachOut.com’s message for young people is one of hope: “You are not alone – young people just like you have made it through tough times just like yours and they now live happier lives.”
ReachOut.com draws on a proven Australian program that contributed to a halving of the youth suicide rate in a decade. The decision to establish ReachOut.com in the United States was made following an independent study by the San Francisco office of the Bridgespan Group that found there was no comparable service to ReachOut.com and highlighted the urgent need for such a service.
In 2011, Inspire USA created ReachOut’s mobile site to reach more young people, developed a weekly text message outreach program to strengthen stress-related coping skills, and launched the ReachOut Reelz video contest to promote positive messages to young people by young people. The Inspire USA Foundation also developed the ReachOut Reads program engaging youth and young adults on books with mental health themes, with author chats, and other resources distributed by librarians across the country through the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Inspire USA also partnered with Facebook and Yahoo to encourage users to access reachout.com for resources.
In May 2012, Inspire launched the ReachOut Forums, a new community that expands the offerings of ReachOut.com. ReachOut Forums are a safe, anonymous, peer-to-peer community for teens and young adults to discuss a range of social, health and mental health related issues. It’s an on-line space where young people can receive and give support to inspire each other to get through tough times. The ReachOut Forums are funded by the voter approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) as one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
ReachOut.com has been tailored specifically for the U.S. environment working directly with young people including a team of contributing editors. It will continue to grow and evolve to meet the changing and diverse needs of U.S. youth. Supported by highly qualified experts, ReachOut.com is building a community of young people who can care for themselves in a safe, supportive and practical way.