‘peer support’ - the research behind our approach

One Eighty's primary function is to promote the prevention of youth suicide. While we're fulfilling this role in a number of ways - one of our proudest contributions to this vision is our Open Up program. We're not just talking about breaking the stigma around mental health - we ARE breaking the stigma. Every. Single. Week. 

In each session, young people are given the opportunity to connect with other young people who may be living through similar experiences. Alternatively, they may be given the opportunity to connect with people who have completely different life experiences. Either experience is valid, and creates a learning opportunity for all involved. Research has shown that ‘peer support’ systems of preventative care for mental illness are beneficial in the recovery and prevention of a range of mental health disorders. Open Up sessions foster this philosophy, offering a peer-to-peer network of support that instills in participants a sense of belonging, inclusion, and safety. Information on local specialised support services is also available at all Open Up sessions. While the sessions themselves are structured to be casual and non-intimidating for first-timers, participants are given constructive and actionable information as to where to seek additional support or help after the sessions.