Help reduce US youth suicide

by Inspire USA Foundation
ReachOut Youth Volunteers
ReachOut Youth Volunteers

Oregon Focus group results

During the month of September 2016, ReachOut USA in collaboration with Lines for life and Youth MOVE Oregon set up focus groups of teens and young adults at three geographically diverse locations across Oregon to:

  • gain insight into the barriers preventing youth from accessing help for mental health challenges
  • find more about technology use in expressing distress and seeking help
  • seek an understanding of how to attract youth to a mental health movement and best disseminate information.

Through these discussions, members found a more nuanced perspective on the factors that inhibit help-seeking and the way in which teens and young adults feel comfortable and are prone to use technology.

Highlights of insights

Many of the focus group participants had personal connections to peers who struggled with suicidal thoughts.

Fear of family members’ reaction and embarrassment were mentioned frequently as reasons for youth being reticent to reveal a mental health problem and seek help. 

A common method of trying to help a friend who is struggling is by using Google to search for online materials that relate to well-being, or that address specific mental health issues like “how to stop a panic attack.”

The youth participants expressed frustration with the lack resources available on social media platforms like Facebook to support peers who indicate they need help.

Participants noticed that friends are more willing to reveal distress online rather than in person, and anonymity online encourages honesty.

Snapchat is more often the platform youth choose to vent because of the ephemeral quality of the posts.

Participants suggested that promotions for a mental health movement need to be funny and entertaining to attract a youth audience, easily accessible and with an informed use of social media.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Oregon youth and the suicide rate among adolescents aged 10 through 17 years has increased since 2011. The plan to help reduce suicide in Oregon is for ReachOut to provide the online component of the three pronged strategy: we provide community forums and supports facilitated by peers, Lines for Life Provide crisis intervention services by text, online chat, phone and email and Youth Move provides the in-person drop-in centers throughout the state. This focus group was only the first step in the plan.


THANK YOU for your past and/or continued support for ReachOut's work for reducing youth suicide in America. We believe that getting youth the help that they need before it becomes a crisis is key to reducing suicide. We hope that you have a wonderful new year & hope you remember to take care of yourself and your own mental health. 


October is Depression Awareness Month

  • 11.01% of youth (age 12-17) report suffering from at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year.
  • 7.4% of youth (or 1.8 million youth) experienced severe depression. 
  • Youth mental health problems are on the rise, and 6 out of 10 young people with major depression do not receive ANY mental health treatment.

         Excerpts from Mental Health America’s annual report on annual State of Mental Health Report Oct 2016.             has many fact-sheets and real stories that give youth support and resources to get help. As October is Depression Awareness Month, here are some highlights from one of our most visited pages (

Depression is a mental disorder that is more severe and longer-lasting than normal sadness. Depression interferes with other aspects of your life, like work, school, or relationships. With the right kind of treatment, many people can overcome it and lead happy, healthy lives.

Common symptoms across all types of depression include:

  • Sadness that won’t go away;
  • Boredom;
  • Feeling irritable or anxious;
  • Loss of interest in usual hobbies and activities;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Irregular sleeping habits;
  • Unexplained outbursts of yelling or crying;
  • Reckless or risky behavior like alcohol and drug abuse.

Everyone feels or acts like this from time to time. But for people experiencing depression, the feelings might be more severe and constant-they don’t go away over time and they’re not easily explainable. There are different types of depression, each of them have their own symptoms, causes, and treatments. 

If you think you or someone you know might be experiencing depression, talk to your doctor, counselor or other mental health professional. These professionals can help you sort through your feelings, make a diagnosis, and provide you with the support for managing your depression.

Depression management and treatment:

Myths and misperceptions on depression:

Real teen story of living with depression:

Please help!

Please share this report to raise awareness, share these resources with youth who might need it, or donate to ReachOut to continue to add resources, real stories and facts sheets for youth who are in need of help.

Thank you for your continued support! You ARE making a difference!


ReachOut volunteers
ReachOut volunteers

ReachOut’s Oregon Suicide Prevention project:

After our 4 ½ year project collaborating with the California Mental Health Authority on youth mental health with online forums, text lines and training lived-experienced speakers, we're now working with Oregon's Health Authority!

This year, ReachOut USA, in collaboration with Lines for Life and Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon, will provide project direction and management for the development and planning phase of the Oregon Health Authority’s Strategic Planning Initiative to Prevent Youth Suicide in Oregon.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Oregon youth and the suicide rate among adolescents aged 10 through 17 years has increased since 2011. The plan is for ReachOut to provide the online component of the three pronged strategy: we provide community forums and supports facilitated by peers, Lines for Life Provide crisis intervention services by text, online chat, phone and email and Youth Move provides the in-person drop-in centers throughout the state.

We’re still in the planning stages of this project, but we will keep you updated with how things are going.


Here’s a new video about ReachOut that we’ve just created:


We hope that you are having a good summer!  Here are some relevant ReachOut summer fact sheets that might be helpful for the youth in your life:

How to Maintain a Positive Body Image This Summer:

Love the Skin You’re In:


Thank you for your ongoing support of ReachOut!


ReachOut is Hope
ReachOut is Hope

After today's tragic report from the CDC of the climbing suicide rates in the US, is needed now more than ever as a place for teens and young adults who are going through tough times to get support. In the words of this 19 year old user:

When I first joined [ReachOut], I was alone, scared, depressed, and angry. Then I started looking around, and I realized that there were so many other people that were feeling the same way. I'm still feel alone, scared, depressed, and angry sometimes, but when I do, I come here and I let people know what's on my mind, and it helps. is built on the premise that we all go through tough times, and those times can seem even darker for teens and young adults struggling with mental health issues. 1 in 5 US teens suffers from a serious mental health condition, and half of them don't get the help they need. In 2015, saw over 2 Million US visits, that's a 100% increase from the previous year.  

We know teens and young adults need the info and support we're offering - and your donations and help spreading the word will continue this effort. There is hope. We need your help. Please consider making another donation today, or telling your friend, family or colleagues about us. 

Thank you!

Michelle and the ReachOut team

ReachOut Impact
ReachOut Impact


ReachOut Volunteers
ReachOut Volunteers


You have made a difference in the lives of more than 1.8 million visitors to in 2015, either by your donation (over $1000 on Global Giving in December alone!), sharing our materials or social media posts, or reading about the great work of our volunteers. You make ReachOut possible!

You are the reason we receive messages like this:  "thanks to all of you, i am still here today." - Will, 20, Forum Member

We want to celebrate our 2015 wins with you:

  • In 2015, we increased US site traffic by 107% by curating and publishing youth developed relevant content and resources.
  • In the past three years, ReachOut has trained over 80 California youth in empathetic peer support and mental health advocacy.
  • In the past year, we trained and facilitated youth volunteers to speak publicly about their mental health lived experience at a variety of venues, including the 7th International Together Against Stigma Conference and the Empathy and Compassion in Society Conference.

As 2016 begins, we continue to need your support in helping ReachOut make an impact on the 30% of teens feeling hopeless each year, by providing mental health information, coping skills, peer support and building resilience.  Please consider telling your friends and family about - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation.

Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year!

Nicola Survanshi, MPH
Executive Director
ReachOut USA



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Organization Information

Inspire USA Foundation

Location: San Francisco, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​about-us
Project Leader:
Michelle Walker
Operations Manager
San Francisco, CA United States
$16,905 raised of $35,000 goal
331 donations
$18,095 to go
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