Online with suicidal ideation: How individuals communicate in and perceive a peer-to-peer mediated social media group

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Individuals experiencing suicidal ideation increasingly use social media to communicate with peers. The literature shows mixed results of its impact and lack of in-depth explorations of closed social media groups. Aim was to explore how members of a closed peer-to-peer social media group for individuals experiencing suicidal ideation communicate and perceive of their membership.

Access to a closed Facebook groups was obtained through administrators and members. Data consisted of descriptive statistics, written content (1 January - 30 June 2020), and in-depth interviews with members (n=5). Data were analyzed using thematic network analysis.

A total of 445 posts and 2891 comments were analysed alongside five interviews. Four thematic areas emerged: (i) Members could share their thoughts with ‘similar others’ in the group; (ii) Many outpoured frustrations in a one-directional manner, while others searched for deep peer discussions; The group was used for (iii) sharing emotional peer-to-peer support; and (iv) practical advice to navigate the psychiatric and social systems.

Findings highlight the group as a safe space and perceived lack of support from the system. They can assist in better understanding the value and challenges of online peer-to-peer communities; advise on how to navigate them; and pinpoint to support needs of this community.

Key words
Social mediasuicideself-harmFacebookpeer-to-peertellabilityonline
TidsskriftMental Health and Prevention
Antal sider23
StatusUdgivet - 2023

ID: 372622891