In 2001, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) began the development of the Interactive Screening Program (ISP), an anonymous, web-based method of outreach to college students with serious depression or other suicide risk factors who were not currently receiving treatment. Research suggests that this was not just because at-risk students were unaware that campus services were available, but also because something in their life experiences, ways of thinking or fears and concerns prevented them from asking for help. What was needed, was a simple, convenient and safe way for troubled students to connect with an experienced, caring mental health counselor, who could help them more clearly identify the problems they were experiencing and work through their barriers to help-seeking.
Drawing on the ISP’s success in college and university settings, AFSP adapted the program for use in the workplace and professional settings. This adaptation, known as the Self-Check Quiz, engages at-risk employees and other professionals in seeking help.
In 2009, AFSP partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to develop the Self-Check Quiz for use by veterans, military services personnel, and their families. The Veterans Self-Check Quiz is designed to ease the entry into the online Veterans Chat service by users in crisis. The Quiz helps users identify and describe their feeling and problems, providing the Chat Counselor with a starting point in understanding and more effectively addressing their needs.
In 2012, AFSP partnered with the Boston Police Department to develop the Self-Check Quiz for active duty police officers. The Self-Check Quiz program is being implemented by the Boston Police Department’s Peer Support Unit and has connected at-risk officers to a Peer Counselor who provides support for help-seeking.
The ISP is included in the Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention maintained by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. To learn more about the ISP, contact the Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.