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Online discussion forums for young people who self-harm: user views

  • Ray Jones (a1), Siobhan Sharkey (a2) (a3), Tamsin Ford (a3), Tobit Emmens (a2), Elaine Hewis (a4), Janet Smithson (a5), Bryony Sheaves (a1) and Christabel Owens (a2) (a3)...
Abstract
Aims and method

To explore what young people who self-harm think about online self-harm discussion forums. SharpTalk was set up to facilitate shared learning between health professionals and young people who self-harm. We extracted themes and illustrative statements from the online discussion and asked participants to rate statements.

Results

Of 77 young people who participated in the forum, 47 completed the questionnaire. They said they learned more about mental health issues from online discussion forums than from information sites, found it easier to talk about self-harm to strangers than to family or friends, and preferred to talk online than face-to-face or on the telephone. They valued the anonymity the forums provided and reported feeling more able to disclose and less likely to be judged online than in ‘real life’.

Clinical implications

Mental health professionals should be aware of the value of anonymous online discussion forums for some young people who self-harm, so that they can talk about them and assess their use with their patients.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Ray Jones (ray.jones@plymouth.ac.uk)
Footnotes
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*

See commentary, pp. 368–370, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
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Online discussion forums for young people who self-harm: user views

  • Ray Jones (a1), Siobhan Sharkey (a2) (a3), Tamsin Ford (a3), Tobit Emmens (a2), Elaine Hewis (a4), Janet Smithson (a5), Bryony Sheaves (a1) and Christabel Owens (a2) (a3)...
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