World-first campaign uses app to battle youth mental health problems

A world-first youth mental health campaign that uses a mobile app to engage young people in mental health issues was launched in Federation Square today. Running during March, The Fifth Army campaign focuses on three of the biggest issues affecting young Australians - bullying, depression and homophobia.

The Fifth Army is an innovative partnership between the Cotton On Foundation, not-for-profit arm of fashion retailer the Cotton On Group and headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

The Cotton On Group is the first fashion retailer globally to initiate a mental health campaign that skills up young people to support their friends, family members and even themselves, if they're going through a tough time.

headspace CEO Chris Tanti said the Cotton On Group was in a unique position, as a brand popular with teenagers and young adults and also an employer of tens of thousands of young people, to make a real difference to their lives and the lives of those around them.

"We know that suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged under 25," Mr Tanti said.

"The Cotton On Foundation should be applauded for using its influence to tackle the issues that are often a factor in young people making this heartbreaking decision."

"The campaign is unique in directly addressing three massive issues and delivering it to young people in the mediums they feel most comfortable with," Mr Tanti said.

As well as the iPhone or Android app, The Fifth Army is being promoted through a dedicated website, 460 Cotton On Group stores across the country and the voices of four high-profile young Australians.

Australian musician, model and presenter Ruby Rose leads the charge as the Three Star General as The Fifth Army, singer-songwriter and The Voice finalist, Sarah De Bono, fronts the bullying division, fulltime lifeguard and star of Channel Ten TV show Bondi Rescue, Trent 'Maxi' Maxwell heads up the depression division and Neighbours actor James Mason leads the homophobia division.

Three Star General of The Fifth Army, Ruby Rose said the campaign is about everybody getting together and taking action to make a difference.

"Join because your brother might be getting bullied, or your best friend might be experiencing homophobic taunts. Get yourself educated on all the divisions," said Rose.

"It's a small thing to do to help the community at large change. Because something needs to and this is where it starts."

Once The Fifth Army app is downloaded, the user watches recruitment videos from each ambassador before deciding which division (bullying, depression or homophobia) they would like to join.

They are then led through a series of 'missions' to earn points, Cotton On store rewards and move up the army ranks from Cadet to Three Star General.

"We're really excited to launch The Fifth Army to Australian troops and hope they are as passionate as we are about creating change in the community," said Cotton On Foundation Manager Tim Diamond.

"Most people want to feel a part of something bigger, to feel like they belong and this movement is about connecting young Aussies. Our mission is to empower youth and this is a huge step in that direction," Diamond commented.

To learn more about The Fifth Army or to get involved visit

For further information please contact:

Marine Cole
Cotton On Foundation Communications Manager or 03 5277 7642

Carly Wright
headspace Media Advisor or 0413 025 385