Year: 2009 Source: Australian Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health, v.8, no.1, (2009), p.1-9 SIEC No: 20090222

Although many individuals go online for help with their problems, there is little information on what types of people prefer online assistance. To help people in need, it is important to understand them and their problems. In the present study, person variables were assessed in relation to online help-seeking for suicidal ideation, as well as comparisons with more traditional face-to-face sources. After conducting focus group discussions, to finalise unique content and format of a computer-administered survey, an additional university sample of 64 (48 females; mean age 23.34 years) completed a computer-administered survey on helpseeking, problem-solving, depressive symptoms, and internet skill and usage. Results showed internet skill, hours online, demographics, and depressive symptoms were not significantly related to online help-seeking. However, a suppressive problem-solving approach was found to be significantly, positively, correlated with going to online sources for suicide-related support. Multiple regression results showed likelihood of using phone helplines (the only other non-face-to-face source assessed), a suppressive problem-solving approach, and not going to offline mental health professionals, were significant predictors of going online for help with suicidal ideation. These results indicate that factors like problem-solving approach and other person attributes can be important in determining how normally reluctant helpseekers may go online for assistance.