#chatsafe: a young person’s guide for communicating safely online about suicide, provides tools and tips to help young people have safe conversations online about suicide. Portable initially worked with Orygen to conduct a research project in collaboration with the University of Melbourne. The research investigated how we could work with young people to co-design ways of distributing Orygen’s #chatsafe guidelines and getting young people to engage with them. To do this we took a deep dive into understanding the process of how young people talk online about suicide-related topics and mental health. Together with young people, we co-designed possible solutions for what an online space to host the guidelines might look like, what kind of tools could help, and how best to approach a national campaign to disseminate the guidelines.
Our design team then created the #chatsafe brand including the logo, visual assets and illustrations used to produce the official #chatsafe guidelines, website and national social media campaign. As part of the campaign, we needed a character who could speak to young people about the #chatsafe guidelines. Together with young people, we came up with the concept of the ‘Moon Cookie’ character to be the #chatsafe mascot. Moon Cookie was designed to be a non-human, non-binary character to give a voice to the guidelines. Moon Cookie forms the basis of a suite of animated branded content that gives young people tips for communicating safely online in a way that resonates with them.
We provided digital communications guidance for reaching key audiences of young people and managed the creation and deployment of the campaign content across all social media channels for the life cycle of the 12-week campaign. The national marketing campaign to share the #chatsafe guidelines across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Youtube reached well over 1,430,000 individuals, and we continue to work with Orygen on creating and posting new content to promote #chatsafe and safe conversations about suicide prevention. We recently held a full-day remote co-design workshop with young people on the 1st of May, and are committed to having young people lead the way in what content should be created and what will resonate with them.
We are now so proud to announce that #chatsafe is going global thanks to the support of Facebook. Over the past 6 months, we have been working with Orygen to help launch #chatsafe in 10 different countries, with the launch officially happening this week. We have been providing support in illustration design, animation development, content creation, content management and branding for the launch of #chatsafe in the UK, Nigeria, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong, Norway and Finland. We have also been creating new assets for the #chatsafe campaign such as a new animation where Moon Cookie travels the globe.
There were many people that helped bring this project to life. Orygen managed the relationship between all international partner organisations and the translation of the guidelines. The #chatsafe guidelines are available at www.orygen.org.au/chatsafe and now, when the site detects that you are in a country other than Australia, users will receive an alert to the guidelines in various languages.
Portable worked with international partners to develop a ‘content pack’ that would kickstart their #chatsafe launch and help them to feel comfortable with the brand and what young people like to see on social media. The content packs we created for each partner country include a brand style guide, still images, animations and some branded videos. These differed for each country; for some countries, it meant a lot of video content because that is what resonated with young people more in those locations, whereas for other countries illustrations worked better. We took the #chatsafe brand and created a new colour palette for each country so that it felt more personalised. International partners were guided by Orygen to work safely with young people in their communities to co-create local social media content. Getting to know each country’s style was an exciting design challenge to have and a rewarding experience for us.
Associate Professor Jo Robinson, head of suicide prevention research at Orygen, said the key to making the guidelines available globally has been working with international partners who share a commitment to the safety and mental health of young people:
“Now more than ever young people are using social media to connect with each other and talk about difficult issues, including suicide. The #chatsafe guidelines aim to help them do this safely. They have been a great success in Australia and we are really excited to have worked with the different partners so that we can now share them with young people from all over the world.”
Mental health issues are not exclusive to Australia, so we are so excited to see that more young people around the world will be able to receive guidance and support on how to talk safely online about suicide. We can’t wait to see the impact #chatsafe has across the globe.
Orygen’s #chatsafe project is supported by funding from the Australian Government, under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program. Orygen’s guidelines have been taken global with support from Facebook.
Our work bringing the #chatsafe guidelines to life has since been awarded silver at the 2020 Melbourne Design Awards.
DrivenxDesign have awarded our work on the #chatsafe brand and campaign silver in the category of ‘Graphic Design - Identity and Branding - Health' which recognises "creative and innovative design in the traditional or digital visual representation of ideas and messages. Consideration given to clarity of communication and the matching information style to audience."
The success of this project has been made possible through our long-running partnership with Orygen, specifically from Associate Professor, Jo Robinson, the Orygen Suicide Prevention team and the Orygen Communications team.