Archives of Suicide Research volume 13, issue 3, P264-276 2009 DOI: 10.1080/13811110903044419

Examining Suicide-Risk Individuals Who Go Online for Suicide-Related Purposes

Keith Harris, John McLean, Jeanie Sheffield
Abstract: The objective of this study was to better help those in suicidal crisis by examining the types of suicide-risk individuals who make use of the Internet in relation to their suicidal problems. An anonymous online survey examined suicide-risk individuals who went online for suicide-related purposes (n = 165) and a reference group of suicide-risk individuals with no such experience (n = 125). Suicide-risk individuals who went online for suicide-related purposes, compared with online users who did not, reported greater suicide-risk symptoms, were less likely to seek help, and perceived less social support. Online, many reported more support, felt less alienated, believed they reduced their suicidality, but also sought suicide methods and were likely to visit "pro suicide" sites. Implications include designing help sites that allow peer-to-peer communications and anonymous professional support.
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