Mental health program, Out & Online, seeks your participation and feedback

Out & Online ( is the first online mental health program to prioritise the needs and experiences of same-gender attracted individuals who are currently experiencing mild-moderate mental health problems. Incorporating 8 modules designed to be completed over 8 weeks, the program includes cognitive behavioural strategies, interactive activities and relaxation exercises to overcome symptoms of worry, stress and sadness and improve wellbeing. Most importantly, the program is specifically tailored to the gender and mental health related challenges of each individual user.

Out & Online, funded by beyondblue, was created by a team of researchers from Swinburne University of Technology, Federation University Australia and Deakin University. Access to the program is currently available free of charge as part of a research trial to test the effectiveness of the program.

Lead researcher, Dr Jo Abbott from the National eTherapy Centre (NeTC) at Swinburne, has highlighted the need for this type of program.

“Research has shown that same-gender attracted young adults experience higher rates of mental health problems when compared to their opposite-gender attracted peers.

“This has been strongly linked to experiences of discrimination resulting from homophobic attitudes present within the wider community. These problems are intensified for gay and lesbian youth living in rural areas, where access to relevant information, resources and services can be even more challenging,” said Dr Abbott.

The internet has the potential to make mental health assistance more appealing and accessible for young adults, however existing online programs have not been relevant to the needs of same-gender attracted young adults. The researchers aim to continue improving the program over time so that it is shaped by the people who use it.  

Out & Online has integrated many of users’ recommendations, such as replacing all references to “same-sex attracted” with “same-gender attracted” to be more inclusive and relatable, as well as updating useful resources and support service links. There are also some changes which will be implemented after the trial is complete, including the expansion of the program to be inclusive of and relevant for transgender individuals. In the next few months, there are plans to make the website’s homepage appear more welcoming for the target population.

Given that Out & Online is recently developed, the researchers are also seeking feedback from participants regarding their experiences of the trial process and website. They are offering $20 Coles Myer gift cards to the first 20 people who agree to register for the research trial of Out & Online, go as far through the trial as they are willing and able, and then provide feedback about their experiences in a 20-30 minute telephone interview.

For more information on the program, visit:
Website –
Facebook –
For access to a video explaining how Out & Online works, click here and to take a tour of the program, click here.