Samaritans developing online self help tool

The charity is looking to improve online self-help for those who feel uncomfortable calling their helpline.

Joe Lepper | 14th Mar 19

Samaritans is working with domain registry firm Nominet to develop an online self help tool to help people cope with distress and tackle suicidal thoughts.

The tool is being created to help those who find it difficult to use the charity’s helpline and prefer to access self help materials online. This includes younger people, those with autism and people with other social anxiety conditions.

Clinical experts are helping develop the tool, which will give people resources to cope with suicidal thoughts and an ongoing support plan so that they an stay safe in a crisis.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people, and the biggest killer of men under the age of 50. In announcing the development of the tool, Samaritans has cited research showing that as manay as one in five people experienced suicidal thoughts and more than 1,500 young people aged between 10 and 34 took their own lives in the UK in 2017.

Volunteer dashboard under development

Nominet is also helping Samaritans develop an ‘intelligent dashboard’ to help volunteers better manage their time and help more people. This is being created in response to increasing demand. The charity deals with around five million requests for help a year and within two years estimates that 6,000 more volunteers will be needed. The dashboard is being funded by the Comic Relief tech4good fund.

As one of Samaritans’ digital transformation partners, Nominet will provide £175,000 to help develop the two tools.

“We are very grateful for the generous support of Nominet and excited about the opportunity to work together to build a digital tool to provide support now and in the future,” said Samaritans Chief Executive Officer Ruth Sutherland.

“We aim to develop a self-help tool trusted by users, that is accessible and will reach people earlier to reduce the risk of reaching crisis point. These valuable tools will enable us to help more people in need of support.”

Nominet Chief Executive Officer Russell Haworth added: “Not everyone is happy calling a helpline in times of crisis. It’s vital that this isn’t a barrier preventing young people getting the help they need.

We have the expertise and the resource to be able to help and are committed to working closely with Samaritans to change this, as well as looking at how cutting-edge technology can help Samaritans deploy its resources at a time of increasing demand.”

Earlier this week Samaritans unveiled a new look website following a charity wide rebranding.