Friday, May 15, 2015

All about Reach Out

This week is national volunteer week so it seems fitting to do a post all about the organisation I volunteer for Reach Out. A few weeks ago I decided to apply to be a Youth Ambassador for Reach Out never thinking for one moment I would get in but I did and after a crazy fun workshop the other weekend I am officially one.

Why Reach Out?
I have never been one to hide the fact I have anxiety and have struggled with it. I was diagnosed with it when I was 12 and have been learning how to live with it ever since! I was looking at testing myself (or really my anxiety) when a post from Reach Out popped up on my Facebook feed regarding being a Youth Ambassador and the rest is history. I have always wanted to get the word out that having a mental illness is ok and Reach Out lets me to do this in a supportive environment.

What does being a Youth Ambassador involve?
Going to schools and giving talks and presentations. Doing fundraising. Organising stalls at events. Talking to local politicians about mental illness. If there is a way to spread the word about Reach Out and mental illness in young adults out we will be doing it!

How you can get involved? by clicking here, liking the official Reach Out Facebook page or following them on Twitter.

Mental illness is what I call a closeted illness as its not often spoken about and if you suffer with it its considered a sign of weakness. I have been told quite a few times that its all in my head and to just get over it, which is out of line in my books. You don't tell someone with diabetes to just get over it, just because you can't see it. Mental illness is something that needs to spoken about and people need to know that its ok to suffer from it.

Young adults have enough happening in their lives as it is and it should be ok to talk about your mental health. This is where Reach Out comes in, they want to let young people that its ok to have a mental illness and that its ok to have to (and want to) get help. 1 in 4 young people will have a mental illness, to put this in perspective in a high school of 1000, 250 of those students will have a mental illness and it will affect their daily lives.

High School, Uni and TAFE can all be stressful at times add to the fact its also around the time people are trying to find their identity and figure out their place in the world its no wonder that its when mental illness is most often diagnosed.

Reach Out's aim isn't just let people know that having a mental illness is ok on the site you will find the following:
  • Forums - where you can chat to people and discuss your struggles with mental illness, play games and make new friends.
  • Tough Times - a place where you can access articles relating to a variety of tough times you (or your friends) may face.
  • Wellbeing - everything from study tips to healthy eating if you are trying to make a positive change in your life start here!
  • Apps and Tools - Reach Out has a wide variety of apps with apps to help with life tracking, problem solving and wellbeing. Plus you can even sign up to get SMS tips!
Another Reach Out Youth Ambassador told me that she thinks of Reach Out being the Google for young adults if you need help with something Reach Out will have it covered. That couldn't be more on point, no matter what you are going through Reach Out is there to help.

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