'A Support Net': Evaluating a novel mental health-related online educational tool

Lucassen, Mathijs F.G.; Samra, Rajvinder; Axtell-Powell, Georgia and Cooke, Georgina (2019). 'A Support Net': Evaluating a novel mental health-related online educational tool. In: International Society for Research on Internet Interventions - ISRII: The Next Generation, 13-15 Feb 2019, Auckland, New Zealand.


Context: Mental ill-health affects an estimated one-in-four people over a lifetime, but members of the public can struggle to know how to help someone in need. We therefore felt it was important to create an interactive educational tool focused on mental health literacy. We developed a bespoke educational tool, called A Support Net, and evaluated its uptake in a real-world context.

Methods: We captured data including: total learners; completion rates; learner country; and time spent using A Support Net.

Intervention: A Support Net uses immersive video-based vignettes demonstrating realistic case studies of someone struggling with mental health problems, and learners are encouraged to reflect on how to support that person. Learners are introduced to four different scenarios and are tasked with making decisions around supporting that person, with the aim of making a positive difference (visually displayed with a ‘your impact’ scale).

Results: To date there have been 8,814 users. The most frequently used vignette (‘Lily’) was accessed by 2,848 learners and had a completion rate of 62%. Most learners are from the UK, and 86% used the tool on their PC (average amount of time spent = 11 minutes).

Conclusions: Overall engagement, evidenced by total learner numbers, has been encouraging which could indicate that the use of video vignettes was an engaging intervention strategy. However the completion rates for all four scenarios are low. For future interactive tools of this kind we plan to include a small number of evaluation items to measure possible improvements in mental health literacy.

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