Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: The Internet is used by young people at risk of self-harm to communicate, find information, and obtain support. AIMS: We aimed to identify and analyze websites potentially accessed by these young people. METHOD: Six search terms, relating to self-harm/suicide and depression, were input into four search engines. Websites were analyzed for access, content/purpose, and tone. RESULTS: In all, 314 websites were included in the analysis. Most could be accessed without restriction. Sites accessed by self-harm/suicide search terms were mostly positive or preventive in tone, whereas sites accessed by the term ways to kill yourself tended to have a negative tone. Information about self-harm methods was common with specific advice on how to self-harm in 15.8% of sites, encouragement of self-harm in 7.0%, and evocative images of self-harm/suicide in 20.7%. Advice on how to get help was given in 56.1% of sites. CONCLUSION: Websites relating to suicide or self-harm are easily accessed. Many sites are potentially helpful. However, a significant proportion of sites are potentially harmful through normalizing or encouraging self-harm. Enquiry regarding Internet use should be routinely included while assessing young people at risk.

Original publication

DOI

10.1027/0227-5910/a000307

Type

Journal article

Journal

Crisis

Publication Date

2015

Volume

36

Pages

211 - 219

Keywords

Internet, adolescents, self-harm, suicide, websites, Access to Information, Depression, Humans, Information Seeking Behavior, Internet, Search Engine, Self-Injurious Behavior, Suicide