Samaritans review the WTF website and make practical implementable recommendations to enhance it42>
WTF have spent a lot of time and energy building, curating and presenting accessible content on our website, for either those seeking support for themselves during tough times or for those seeking to support someone else going through a difficult period.
Samaritans have wide ranging experience of the online world and having recognised that online materials, particularly concerning self harm and suicide, can both help and harm those seeking support. The organisation has recently established a research programme to: better understand online content and its impact; to provide a hub of ‘stay safe online’ resources; and to provide industry guidelines and best practice principles for the provision of material online. Samaritans have also launched an Online Harms Advisory service, providing free and confidential specialist advice on issues relating to self-harm and suicide content online.
Lydia Grace (Policy & Research Programme Manager (Online harms) at Samaritans and her team offered their time and resource to do just that and we are so grateful for the opportunity to have our content and approach reviewed by them.
Overall, we were very encouraged by their conclusions about the variety and selection of our content (in terms of topics and sources) and the intuitive ‘consumption’ approach we use to make our material available to our website users (recognising that different people, or the same person but at different times, prefer to consume information in different ways). Our material is offered according to whether our users, at that time, prefer to read (documents/webpages), watch (video), listen (podcasts), do (join clubs/groups), use Apps (on your mobile), or talk (via phone, text or online support and, of course this is our preference, as it’s our mantra – it’s ‘Why Talking Fixes’).
In addition, Lydia’s team made some recommendations to enhance what WTF offer those seeking support. These are practical implementable ideas from their own experience and research that aim to enrich our website and our users’ experiences. Recommendations included updating how we offer support to those ‘in crisis’ and recognising it should differ to how we offer support to those who are ‘guidance-seeking’ and are less stressed. Amongst other suggestions they advised us how we can encourage visitors to our site to ‘stay safe online’ and how to make the user experience on mobile more engaging. We have already implemented 7 of their 8 recommendations.
As you, our users, explore and use our site we would love to hear back from you (via our ‘Contact Us’ page) about your experience and what you found particularly helpful or unhelpful, so that we can continually improve the content available and how it is presented.
We are privileged that Lydia’s Samaritans team were willing to give WTF so much of their time. We are very grateful and encouraged to receive such positive feedback for what we do and how we do it. And we are delighted to have updated our site to address the recommendations that Samaritans made to us, to improve how we engage with, and help, those in need of support who visit our website.