ReachOut NextStep: Making sense of mental health
One in five Australians will experience a mental illness, the NextStep tool hopes to help those in distress by providing tailored (and anonymous) support options.
ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation, providing invaluable support for young people through a range of online resources and tools. With a vision to help an additional one million people by the end of 2020, we partnered with ReachOut to reboot their NextStep triage tool. The existing tool was clunky and not intuitive, and therefore not helping as many young people struggling through tough times as it had the potential to.
Within the first 6 months of release:333.80% increase of NextStep launches55% of young people expressed the support options were helpful35.87% increase of young people who used NextStep who received personalised recommendations*compared to same period last year
Anthem Awards 2022 - Gold - Mental Health / Product
Increase uptake of the NextStep tool by users, decrease drop-off from Step one, and ultimately help more young people get the right support.
The existing NextStep tool confronted the user with a wall of 100 symptoms to choose from - extremely overwhelming for someone already in distress. We needed to break down that first barrier to ensure people flowed through each step of the tool, to help diagnose their issues, the severity of their symptoms, and provide the appropriate support recommendations.
Working with young people suffering high levels of stress means ReachOut is strictly governed by duty of care frameworks and every UX, copy and design decision needed to be approved by ReachOut’s clinical advisory board.
By moving NextStep to a conversational, chatbot-like experience, accessible from anywhere on ReachOut.com.au, we could engage users earlier and keep them constantly in the flow.
Looking at the data, we figured out where young people were bouncing, and then reduced the number of steps the user needed to take in order to get help. Knowing that looking for mental health support can often be deeply personal, the chat window was easily minimised. With the list of 100 symptoms unable to be condensed in order to comply with the clinical advisory board’s recommendations, we added search and simplified filtering.
Reduced the number of steps the user needed to take in order to get help.
Design was also re-thought to increase warmth and friendliness, utilising card-style layouts and chat bubbles, while adhering to strict brand guidelines. The use of emojis also tested strongly with young people, so the parts of the conversation that might be difficult to put into words, used emojis as signifiers instead.
The use of emojis also tested strongly with young people, so the parts of the conversation that might be difficult to put into words, used emojis as signifiers instead.
In this space, positive impact is as important as growth. The new version of NextStep demonstrates both. There are more young people engaging with the web-app, and we observe positive increases in how they identify their often complex mental health needs upfront, as well as increases in the next steps they take with tailored recommendations.
Nadine Raydan, Senior Product Manager, ReachOut