celebrates 15 years with short film competition

06 March, 2013 by IF

 Press release: Inspire, Australia’s leading online youth mental health service, has celebrated 15 years supporting young people across Australia through tough times. was launched in 1998 by the Inspire Foundation, which aims to help young people be happy and well. 75 per cent of all mental health issues start before the age of 25, and in Australia, one in four young people experiences a mental health issue, with suicide the highest cause of death among young people. was the world’s first youth mental health service, connecting young people with support and resources in an environment that was familiar and comfortable – the online world.


The milestone was marked at an event at Paddington Town Hall in Sydney on 1 March, where young people from across Australia joined CEO Jonathan Nicholas and Peter Garrett MP to celebrate the groundbreaking online support and resources offered by the service. Jonathan Nicholas, CEO of Inspire Foundation, said the service continued to build on the success of the past 15 years, consistently pushing the boundaries to connect with young people on their own terms:

“In the past 15 years we’ve continued to innovate as technology and communications trends have evolved. By placing young people at the centre of everything we do, we have ensured remains relevant and accessible to Australian youth through a variety of platforms, including apps, online games and discussion forums.

“The accessibility of support for youth mental health in a non-confrontational and comfortable environment is critical. In the past 12 months alone, almost 1.4 million Australians visited, with 20 per cent of our visitors accessing information through mobile devices.”

The anniversary event also marked the culmination of’s inaugural short film competition, where entrants aged 18-24 were challenged to create a 30-60 second video for the website that shows what young people can do to keep themselves mentally fit and healthy.

The Honourable Peter Garrett AM MP congratulated the three finalists on their short film submissions:

“I am extremely impressed by the quality of the videos submitted by young people from all across Australia. A key to ReachOut’s continued effectiveness and longevity is down to putting young people at the centre of everything they do, and this competition is just another example of this.”

21 shortlisted entrants, including the winner and two finalists, will continue to work with, attending a two-day ideas generation workshop, and join the Film Crew where they will be paid to develop new content for the website over the coming year.

At 19 years of age, Zak Norris from Wanneroo was awarded first place with his highly praised Balloons short film.  Zak submitted his video three days after hearing about the competition on’s Facebook page.

“I was quite stunned, but I feel so privileged to have won.  ReachOut is such an important organisation for young people, and I am just thrilled that I’ve been able to help emphasise to my peers that services like ReachOut are out there to provide support,” said Zak.

Brendan Cain from Kempsey, New South Wales, gained second place while Terry Taplin from Mandurah, Western Australia, was awarded third place.

CEO Jonathan Nicholas said the young filmmakers would be making an invaluable contribution to the ongoing evolution of

“It is by connecting directly with Australia’s young people that we continue to remain relevant and engaging.  The creativity shown by our young filmmakers is truly inspiring and I’m looking forward to hearing more of their ideas and ultimately seeing the powerful content they will be producing for our and for young people in need across Australia.”