Believe It or Not Campaign

By Claudette Pretorius
Thursday, 19th March 2020
Filed under: ESRBlog

Findings from one of our recent studies found that 80% Irish young people have used an Internet search to find more information about a mental health concern but 47% did not rate it as a trustworthy means of doing so. Our findings also showed that mental health websites were rated as the most trustworthy online resource with 39.45% indicating that found them to be trustworthy or very trustworthy.

​However, none of the online spaces that were asked about, were indicated to be trustworthy by the majority of respondents. We also asked young people what some of their key concerns were when seeking help online. Over 55% of respondents said that being unsure of whether information online was reliable was definitely a worry.

With these findings in mind, we decided it would be important to help young people identify credible online resources that could support their mental health. Together, with Catriona Keane, the science   student adviser at UCD, we applied to UCD SPARC programme.   The SPARC (Supporting Partnerships and Realising Change) programme is a UCD career network initiative which encourages students and staff to work together on projects that make positive contributions to the community. Our SPARC project, titled ‘Believe It or Not’ aims to address some of the concerns young people have about finding reliable online mental health information.

​The intention of the ‘Believe it or Not’ campaign is to support young people when they seek help online for mental health concerns. The Internet offers an abundance of online resources which can be of variable quality. We have put together a list of things to look out for when looking at online content to determine whether or not it’s credible. The things to look out for can be summarised in these 6 questions (Click on the images below):

​To show how these questions work, we’ve also provided a list of mental health services in Ireland and showed how their websites show credibility and why they would be categorised as trustworthy online resources:

Although we had intended to launch the campaign in May, in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided that it might be more useful to young people right now. Should you have any questions regarding the campaign please do get in touch with or


  1. Believe it or not poster 1
  2. Believe it or not poster 2
  3. Believe it or not list of services 1
  4. Believe it or not list of services 2


This blog was written by Claudette Pretorius

Claudette is an MSCA Fellow at University College Dublin.

To read more about Claudette's research please click here.

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