ProYouth OZ – an online program to help young people improve their body image


“Thanks to the entire ProYouth Team – it has been such a relief to have someone to talk to when everything in life got a bit messy. After a lot of thinking I finally decided to seek help…”

- participant from ProYouth in Germany


Just in time for Mental Health Week, researchers at the Australian National University and the University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany have launched the online program ProYouth OZ. The program has been designed to help young people improve their body image.

ProYouth OZ focuses on the promotion of mental health in young people aged 18 to 25, specifically related to healthy eating, body satisfaction, and eating disorders. The program offers various information and support modules to young people that can be used over a period of 6 weeks. The program does not involve any face-to-face interaction.

ProYouth was developed in Germany by experts in mental health promotion, prevention and treatment, specifically in the field of eating disorders at the Centre for Psychotherapy Research, University Hospital Heidelberg. Researchers at the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) and the Research School of Psychology (RSP) at the Australian National University have adapted the program with the involvement of young people who have recovered from an eating disorder.

One module includes videos of young people with lived experience of an eating disorder. These consumer videos aim to promote positive messages of hope, insight, motivation and a sense of belonging to participants. Moreover, they provide a voice and a sense of empowerment and agency to young people who have experienced and recovered from an eating disorder and who were involved in co-producing the videos.

After testing the program in a controlled study, the developers of the program hope to disseminate ProYouth OZ across Australia, providing a platform for consumers, as well as carers, peers and family members to learn more about eating disorders and pathways for seeking help.

Who can participate in the study?

Young people aged 18 to 25 who worry about their weight and body shape can complete a brief screening questionnaire. If eligible, they are invited to participate in the study.


For further information on the program, visit:


About the author

Kathina Ali

Kathina is a PhD student at the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) at the Australian National University. She is interested in how technology can be used to improve the lives of young people with body image issues. Since 2009, Kathina has worked on various research projects in Germany and Portugal before starting her PhD in Australia. For her research Kathina was awarded the inaugural Grace Groom Memorial Scholarship by Mental Health Australia.

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