21/12/2015 6:04 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

ReachOut Australia Is Using Audio Stories To Start Conversations With Young People About Mental Health

Andrea Zanchi via Getty Images
Man desperate and alone in the dark

A new project launched on Thursday by ReachOut Australia in collaboration with a string of Australian actors aims to help young Australians deal with social and mental health issues during the holiday season through audio stories.

The audio content transforms topics addressed by ReachOut Australia’s workshops and practical information available on their website into audio stories that young people can listen to anywhere they like.

The seven stories combine anecdotes of personal experiences with suicide as well as social anxiety, abusive relationships and post-traumatic stress disorder while offering helpful tips on how to deal with the challenging feelings that come with mental health.

A lot of people think that talking about suicide makes it more likely to happen, but the reverse is actually true,” Dr Kerrie Buhagiar, director of Service Delivery, ReachOut Australia told The Huffington Post Australia.

“There’s a lot of evidence to show that having a conversation, intervening early, and helping a young person feel supported can play a powerful preventive role and get them the help they need,” Buhagiar said.

A number of Australian actors have given their time to the project including Wonderland’s Jess Tovey and Home and Away’s Jackson Gallagher, who provided the voice for a young man considering suicide.

“Suicide is a really important issue; especially among young men. These stories are very truthful and honest depictions of mental health issues and they’re a great resource for helping young people deal with tough times,” Gallagher said in a statement.

In 2013, 348 young people died by suicide, more than any other cause including road accidents, cancer, and assault.

“Suicide and mental health are the greatest health issues facing young Australians -- so it’s important that we get people talking about it,” Buhagiar said.

“If more young people have these conversations about suicide, then we’re likely to prevent even more of them,” Buhagiar said.

To listen to the audio content head to

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

Young people can turn to from anywhere and at any time, for peer support and to learn more about what they’re going through.

National 24/7 crisis phone services include Lifeline 13 11 14, Suicide Callback Service 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.