SoMe and Self Harm: The Use of Social Media in Depressed and Suicidal Youth

Date
2018-01-03
Authors
Carey, Jennifer Lee
Chapman, Brittany
Chai, Peter
Jake-Schoffman, Danielle
Carreiro, Stephanie
Nader, Nathalie
Pagoto, Sherry
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Increased access and use of social media on smartphones and tablets have changed interpersonal communication styles. Because of the ease of social media access and the ability to reach a large number of individuals, social media is an ever more important modality that connects individuals. Importantly, adolescents have adopted social media platforms to discuss issues related to mental health. There is little existing data regarding how adolescents who are depressed or suicidal use social media prior to treatment in the emergency department (ED) for medical care of their psychiatric illness. In this paper, we present formative evidence of social media behaviors in 29 adolescents seeking emergency care for depression or suicidal ideation. Participants were surveyed regarding social media use and motivations to post content regarding depression, death or dying. Among the participants who allowed the research team to view their social media accounts, 40% (n=6) posted content related to depression, death or dying, while 20% (n=3) wrote that they felt depressed and 13.3% (n=2) posted that they wanted to die. Qualitative discussions with participants provided description of reasons for posting content on social media about depression, death and dying, or reasons that individuals refrained from posting online. Despite methodological and technical challenges in research, social media may prove be valuable in detection and intervention of adolescents who are depressed and contemplating suicide.
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Social Media and Healthcare Technology, Adolescents, depression, self-harm, social media, suicidal ideation
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7 pages
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Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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