The Business Goal
The Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) is a coalition of National Health Service trusts, businesses, and individuals who are committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond by raising awareness of and promoting free suicide prevention training accessible to all. The ZSA aims to encourage one million people from the UK to complete the suicide prevention training and, as a result, start a national conversation about how we can all play a part in supporting people in need.
Inspired by the Henry Ford system in Detroit, the concept of zero suicide rests on the belief that no death by suicide is acceptable or inevitable.
The Behavioral Goal
The goal of the training is to develop the awareness, motivation, skills, and confidence to help those in need. The training will:
- Enable people to recognize the warning signs and identify when someone is presenting with suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Help them speak to someone with suicidal thoughts in an open, confident and supportive manner
- Empower them to direct the individual to the correct services or support networks for additional help
Relias worked with content experts at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to build the eLearning resource, “Suicide. Let’s Talk.”
- Be accessible to lay people, not just clinicians, nurses or other healthcare workers.
- Keep to a strict time limit—individuals should be able to complete the training in just 15 to 20 minutes.
- Provide content that not only informed, but impacted behavior change through both affective the cognitive learning domains. We wanted to construct a learning experience that:
- Created awareness of the problem
- Motivated a willingness to response
- Provided the capability to respond through coaching and skill-building practice
This course needed to meet the requirements of the subject matter experts (SMEs) and the marketing team within Mersey Care. The marketing team wanted a piece that would quickly engage the user and would be easily shareable through social media. The learning team needed a course that would focus on changing behaviors—namely, having that potentially life-changing conversation with someone in need.
This course aimed to promote the mission of the Zero Suicide Alliance as well as provide a quality learning that resulted in a behavior change. Balancing these two needs was a delicate balance—one achieved through extensive collaboration.
With Mersey Care, we held weekly meetings (at least) to revise transcripts, shot lists, video approaches, etc. These included our course developer, instructional designer, Mersey Care SMEs, executive stakeholders, and members of marketing team and the Relias project manager.
We employed an iterative approach, where we discussed the team’s ideas and expectations, prototyped, and tested, with the goal of realizing greater efficiencies and getting us to our final product more quickly. This iterative approach allowed us to refine as we worked, avoiding investing too much in course development before all stakeholders bought into the solution.
The visual treatment of this course was essential to realizing the goal of the instruction—from the approachable and intuitive user interface, to the graphic novel inspired format of the scenarios. Because we needed to connect emotionally with the user, our use of media was produced with that in mind. The videos were shot to convey an emotional intimacy that was not at all intrusive, and the scenarios used custom photography so that we could capture the range of emotion within those situations.
The resulting training is a simple but effective learning experience that creates awareness and motivation for action. This is achieved by introducing meaningful data on the risk and impact of suicide, and presenting the stories of real people—in their own words—whose lives have been touched by suicide. The course then moves to real-life scenarios, showing learners how they can apply the simple steps: See, Say, Signpost and helping them overcome challenges which may discourage them from taking action.
The scenarios take the learner through best practices and include a built-in coach to help guide them through the conversation. Learners have the choice to access the coaching or take a go without it.
Each part of the conversation aligns with the steps in See, Say, Signpost.
Overall, the solution is designed to help learners connect with the material and develop the skills needed to handle difficult conversations with loved ones, friends, colleagues, or even a complete stranger!
Additionally, Mersey Care wanted to make sure the course was accessible to all populations, so we partnered with SignCode UK to integrate signcodes (scannable QR codes that play videos) throughout the course. The course allows full access for Deaf people in British Sign Language. We analyzed the course content flow and created optimal learning experience for our Deaf learners. As this community can be at higher risk for suicide, it was essential to include this often-overlooked population.
Working in partnership with the Zero Suicide Alliance, Mersey Care Trust and SignCode UK, Relias was able to build an engaging, course employing video and interactive scenarios that learners can complete in roughly 15 to 20 minutes. The course is currently available for free on the ZSA website.