The Link Project

Project Details

The Link Project, led by this project team in conjunction with ReachOut Australia and the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, has developed and is conducting a randomised controled trial of Link, an online tool dedicated to assisting young people to navigate pathways to mental health information or care that is appropriate to their self-assessed severity and preferences for ways of receiving help (eg face to face, online, by telephone). The service currently covers conditions of depression, anxiety, eating disorder, relationship difficulty including violence, suicidal thoughts, alcohol and drug issues and common stressors (eg exam and financial concerns). This service, in the first instance, is being tested with young people aged 18-25 years. At present the team are developing a proposal to adapt this program for school aged children from 10 to 17 years and also for professionals to assist them in locating resources and services online and offline to assist young people with mental health issues.

The Link program has undergone substantial user experience testing and from this work, the second iteration of the program has been released on the website under the new name of NextStep.



  • ReachOut Australia


Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre 'Online facilitated help seeking program (Link) for young people with emotional distress: a randomised trial' (2012-2016)

Research Outcomes

NextStep website

Research Publications

Kauer, S., K Buhagiar, V Blake, S Cotton, L Sanci. Facilitating mental health help-seeking by young adults with a dedicated online program: a feasibility study of Link. BMJ Open 2017:7(7):e015303

Kauer, S., K Buhagiar, L Sanci. Facilitating mental health help seeking in young adults: the underlying theory and development of an online navigation tool. Advances in Mental Health 2016

Kauer SD, Mangan C, Sanci L. Do online mental health services improve help-seeking for young people? A systematic review. J Med Internet Res. 2014;16(3):e66

Reid SC, Kauer SD, Hearps SJC, Crooke AHD, Khor AS, Sanci LA, Patton, GC. A mobile phone application for the assessment and management of youth mental health problems in primary care: health service outcomes from a randomised controlled trial of mobiletype. BMC Family Practice, 2013 14(1): 84. doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-84.

Research Group

Children and Young People’s Health

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

General Practice

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