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Self-Injury, Help-Seeking, and the Internet

Informing Online Service Provision for Young People

Published Online:

Abstract.Background: Although increasing numbers of young people are seeking help online for self-injury, relatively little is known about their online help-seeking preferences. Aims: To investigate the perspectives of young people who self-injure regarding online services, with the aim of informing online service delivery. Method: A mixed-methods exploratory analysis regarding the perspectives of a subsample of young people who reported a history of self-injury and responded to questions regarding preferences for future online help-seeking (N = 457). The sample was identified as part of a larger study (N = 1,463) exploring self-injury and help-seeking. Results: Seven themes emerged in relation to preferences for future online help-seeking: information, guidance, reduced isolation, online culture, facilitation of help-seeking, access, and privacy. Direct contact with a professional via instant messaging was the most highly endorsed form of online support. Conclusion: Young people expressed clear preferences regarding online services for self-injury, supporting the importance of consumer consultation in development of online services.