Year: 2020 Source: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (2019). 59(1), 1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.12.022 SIEC No: 20200087

The recent rise in suicide rate of teenagers has coincided with their increasing use of social media sites. YouTube is the social media platform most commonly used by teenagers. Recent research studies and news reports have highlighted serious concerns about the nature of information available on YouTube and its potential impact. Owing to such concerns, the aim of our study was to analyze videos about teenage suicide on YouTube and viewers’ engagement with them. We conducted a comprehensive search and analyzed unique videos in the English language with ≥1,000 views. The videos were categorized and compared based on their source. The tone of top 10 comments, based on viewer engagement, was analyzed as well. Statistical analysis, including Kruskal-Wallis tests to compare the videos, was conducted. The final analysis included 413 videos, with cumulative 482,736,217 views. Close to half (48.6%) of the videos were educational, and almost a third (29.3%) were about awareness/prevention of teenage suicide. Only 8.2% of videos were from academic sources. Among the 2,500 comments analyzed, 29.5% had a positive tone, and 7.5% expressed frank suicidal ideation or explicitly sought help against such thoughts. In conclusion, the extremely high viewership of videos on teenage suicide, which overwhelmingly convey a positive message, speaks to the demand for such content online and therefore reflects an online cry for help by teenagers. On the same note, this high demand also provides us a great opportunity to engage teenagers for suicide prevention through YouTube.