What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?
The beneficiaries are young people aged 16-25. ROC is particularly targeted at young men, who despite high levels of mental health difficulties, rarely seek help from community-based mental health services. Prior to developing the full version of ROC, we developed and evaluated a prototype of the program in order to assess whether content from a school-based education program shown to reduce depressive symptoms, could be combined with computer gaming technology. The evaluation found that 92% of males and 97% of females found the prototype “helpful” or “very helpful” in developing skills. The full version of ROC launched on 17 September 2007. An independent evaluation to assess the mental health impact of the full version has been commissioned. This will be completed in early 2008. However, the early impact is that ROC has significantly increased the number of new members joining Reach Out! and significantly increased the number of young men engaged with the service.
How many people have you served directly?
The prototype was accessed by 33,346 users in the 24 months that it was available online. In its first week, the new ROC has been accessed by over 10,000 users. To access the program online, users need to become members of Reach Out!. Prior to the launch of the new ROC, Reach Out! would sign up 152 new members in an average week, of which 20% were males. One success measure of ROC was an increase in the number of young people joining Reach Out!. In the week following ROC's launch, 2188 people became members of Reach Out! (a 14 fold increase on the weekly average) of which 54% were males. More men became members in that same week than in the previous 8 months combined. The main Reach Out! site, which ROC has been integrated with, has been accessed over 5 million times since its launch in 1997. Reach Out! is regularly accessed by over 250,000 users per month and is the now the leading mental health website for young people in Australia.
How many people have you served indirectly?
In the months following launch we will work closely with education experts to develop lesson plans that will enable ROC to be integrated into high school curricula across the country. Over 1000 teachers are members of the Reach Out! Teachers Network. As a result, hundreds of young people will be indirect beneficiaries of the program through its use in schools. In early 2008 we will launch a program called Reachoutpro to enable our resources, such as ROC, to be used as a tool in clinical care. As a result, we expect that a significant number of community-based clinicians (e.g. psychologists, social workers and doctors) will indirectly benefit from ROC through its use as a tool in clinical settings. In 2008, Reach Out! will be launched in the USA. As a result, young people in the USA will indirectly benefit from the development of ROC. We expect to launch a service in Ireland in 2009, with more countries to follow.