Multi-Modal Approach to Preventing Suicide in Schools (MAPSS)

Multi-Modal Approach to Preventing Suicide in Schools (MAPSS) is a school suicide prevention programme for Year 10 pupils that aims to reduce suicide risk and increase help-seeking among young people. It was originally developed in Australia and is currently undergoing a randomised controlled trial there after a successful pilot study. The research in Australia is led by Orygen at the University of Melbourne. Our aim is to replicate this research in the UK, to establish whether MAPSS would also be effective here.

MAPSS consists of three components:

  1. A universal suicide prevention workshop called SafeTALK for all young people. In the UK, the workshop will be delivered by trained professionals from Grassroots Suicide Prevention. SafeTALK is a 3.5 hour workshop which teaches students to recognise and respond to the warning signs of suicide in themselves and others.
  2. Screening to identify young people who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideation. Young people complete the Suicidal Ideation Attributes Scale (SIDAS), which consists of five questions about suicidality in the last month. Young people who score highly on the SIDAS will be referred to their school for further support.
  3. Delivery of a targeted online intervention, Reframe IT-UK, for young people who score highly on the SIDAS. Reframe IT was developed and piloted by Orygen in Australia, and has been adapted for use in the UK. Reframe IT-UK is a suicide-specific 8-week cognitive behavioural therapy programme for young people that is completed during school time with an appropriately trained member of staff.

In addition, Papyrus will deliver their SP-ARK training in suicide prevention skills to teachers at participating schools, and parents will be offered the opportunity to attend their SP-EAK suicide awareness training.

When will MAPSS be delivered?

The pilot study of MAPSS will begin in March 2023 and end when schools break up for the summer holidays. SafeTALK and the screening component will be delivered in March, with Reframe IT-UK beginning after the Easter holidays (for young people who are eligible). All components of MAPSS will be delivered during normal school hours.

Participating schools will contact parents/carers with more information regarding delivery of MAPSS, and parents should direct any questions about their child’s participation in MAPSS directly to their school.

What will the research involve?

The pilot study of MAPSS is being funded by Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative (Champs). As part of this, Champs are commissioning researchers at LJMU to conduct an evaluation of the programme, to establish whether it is feasible and effective in UK schools. As such, the delivery and evaluation of MAPSS will be treated independently, i.e., young people can still take part in MAPSS even if their parents decide they do not want them to take part in the research.

The research component will involve young people completing online surveys during school time at three separate time points (before SafeTALK, after SafeTALK, and at the end of the school year). The surveys will consist of a range of measures looking at young people’s mental health and wellbeing, their knowledge on help-seeking and suicide prevention, and their experiences of taking part in MAPSS. Surveys are not compulsory, and young people do not have to take part if they do not want to. A school staff member and a researcher from LJMU will be present during survey completion to support the young people. A full list of the questions is available.

Participating schools will send information sheets and opt-out consent forms to parents of all young people who are taking part in MAPSS. If parents do NOT want their child to participate in the surveys, they will need to return the opt-out consent form to their child’s school or directly to the research team (contact details below). As the delivery and evaluation components of MAPSS are independent, these consent forms relate only to the research element of the study. Parents will need to discuss with their child’s school directly about their involvement in the delivery of the MAPSS programme.

The research team will also carry out some interviews and focus groups with staff and pupils who have taken part in MAPSS, to find out more about their experiences of the programme, whether they think it is beneficial, and whether anything needs to be changed. Parents of potential participating pupils will be contacted directly about this with further information.

The Research Team

The research is being led by Dr Emma Ashworth  (Senior Lecturer in Psychology) and Dr Pooja Saini  (Reader in Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention), within the Suicide and Self-Harm Research Group at LJMU. Any questions regarding the research component of MAPSS can be directed to Dr Ashworth or Dr Saini via email: