Who goes online for suicide-related reasons? A comparison of suicidal people who use the internet for suicide-related reasons and those who do not.
Mok, K.~~Jorm, A.~~Pirkis, J.
Although people who use the Internet for suicide-related reasons have been found to report significantly higher levels of suicidal ideation, little is known about the characteristics of these users. Aims: To examine the differences between suicidal people who use the Internet for suicide-related reasons and those who do not. Method: Participants were 205 Australian citizens and permanent residents aged 18−24 years who had felt suicidal within the past year. Participants were recruited online through non-mental health-related websites and asked to complete an anonymous online survey. Results: In univariate analyses, suicide-related users reported significantly higher levels of social anxiety and lifetime and past year suicidal ideation than non-suicide-related users, as well as a higher likelihood of future suicide and overall higher risk for suicide. There were no differences on depressive symptoms and perceived social support. Both groups were unlikely to anticipate seeking help from any source and generally perceived similar barriers to offline help-seeking. Multivariate analyses showed that past year suicidal ideation and likelihood of future suicide significantly predicted suicide-related Internet use. Conclusions: Individuals may choose to go online for alternative methods of coping when their suicidal feelings become more severe, demonstrating the need for more online suicide prevention efforts.