Which mental health charity should I donate to?

This analysis reflects our 2018 recommendations. Subscribe now for updates.

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NOTE: THE FOLLOWING CHARITY REVIEWS WERE ADDED 7 DECEMBER 2018 AND ARE NOT REFLECTED IN THIS OVERVIEW.


In Australia, mental illness is extremely common. In fact, 45% of Australians aged 16-85 years have at some point in their lifetime experienced a mental disorder.* We all know the possible consequences of not treating mental illness. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in Australia and in 2016 alone, 2,862 people died from intentional self-harm.**

This review will help you decide which mental health charities are worth supporting to help improve these statistics. Who demonstrates that they will use your donation to improve the lives of those suffering from mental illness?

The Good Cause Co. have evaluated three of Australia’s largest mental health charities to help answer this question:

  • HEADSPACE

  • BEYOND BLUE

  • LIFELINE AUSTRALIA

Who is the best?

Of this list, there is no clear standout. They all achieve our ‘Donate’ recommendation. This means they seem generally trustworthy, and can demonstrate they are mostly effective. However, they need to provide further information in order for us to recommend them with confidence.

So, who should I give to?

These three charities focus on supporting those with mental illness in very different ways. Donate to the service that you think is most necessary:

  • beyondblue focuses on raising awareness. They work to raise mental health awareness, reduces stigma, and provides tools for early intervention.

  • headspace offers ongoing treatment. They focus on providing ongoing mental health services to young people through the use of physical and online help centres.

  • Lifeline offers crisis support. They provide access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

The Good Cause Co.’s “Should I Give To…” provides independent evaluations of Australia’s largest charities. We will be publishing over 50 critical reviews of charities that are seeking your donation. It’s time to find out which Australian charities are the star performers!

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*Source: ABS (2010) 1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10 Feature Article 2: Mental Health. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/1301.0Chapter11082009–10

** Source:  ABS (2017). 3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2016. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2016~Main%20Features~Intentional%20self-harm:%20key%20characteristics~7