#48: CEO Series Part 2 with ReachOut CEO Ashley de Silva

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 Thanks for listening to another episode of It Ain’t Weak to Speak with Sam Webb. Please rate the podcast and leave a review if you enjoyed it. 

My guest today is Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut Australia, the world's first online mental health service.

In this episode, Ashley explains how ReachOut is able to communicate and engage with young people and parents utilising data and research driven delivery models. We talk about the unique perspectives of “digital natives” and how we need to tailor digital services for our youngest generation.

We talk about the impact of Covid on people looking for mental health support, the increased demand on ReachOut, and why it is essential to provide an accessible and easy experience for people seeking mental health support online. Ashley talks about the fears that people and organisations face when moving into the digital landscape and the progress being made to legitimise the digital mental health sector.

Ashley shares from his own experience with anxiety as a young person, the hurdles he faced and why he is so passionate about mental health and his current role at ReachOut. Ashley is surrounded by a team of passionate people at Reach Out and he shares how they create the right framework, processes and culture to handle the challenges of unforeseen crisis and avoid burnout while doing so.


[4.35]: What Reach Out is and what their goals are in the mental health sector in Australia. How they manage to connect with and support their target demographic of young people.
[8.45]: The impact of Covid on people looking for mental health support, the increase of demand on Reach Out, and the fears people took out of the pandemic.
[10.50]: We are all unique in our struggles as humans and mental health services need to understand that in the support they provide. The importance of drawing upon a strong evidence base to design that support system.
[12.50]: How and why Ashley keeps looking to the future of Reach Out. How they deliver the services today while also planning for the services of the future.
[15.20]: Why Ashley is so passionate about mental health and why he was driven to his current role. His experience with anxiety as a young person and the hurdles he faced that he now wants to remove.
[16.45]: What is and isn’t working with the technology Reach Out uses to deliver its support services.
[20.20]: How Reach Out overcomes those challenges by collective real time data and trying new things frequently.
[22.40]: An example of optimising mental health service delivery on digital platforms. Reach Out’s recent collaboration with Lifeline to connect them with young people who need immediate crisis support.
[24.45]: How to ensure an accessible and easy experience for people seeking mental health support online, and why that is essential.
[29.00]: The unique perspectives of the youngest generation as digital natives and how you need to tailor digital services for them.
[32.46]: The fears people and organisations have stepping out of their comfort zones and into the digital landscape.
[35.30]:  Why digital isn’t as simple as it seems, the progress that has been made legitimising the digital mental health sector, and the progress left to make.
[38.00]: Sam and Ashley discuss the passion of the team at Reach Out. How they create the right framework, processes, and culture to ensure the team’s passion doesn’t become burnout.
[44.00] How Ashley, and the team at Reach Out handle the challenges of an unforeseen crisis with coming together, facts, and communication.
[46.30] 3 Qualities Ashley possesses that help in his role as CEO of Reach Out. Being able to stay cool under pressure, a curiosity for unravelling large problems, and a love of working collaboratively.


Website: https://au.reachout.com/


Phone: 0402 576 114

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