Last year, Canadian researchers investigated an alarming tend: Teens are deliberately hurting themselves and then posting videos about self-injury on YouTube. Their study revealed that, for these teens, “some forms of social media may make self-injury seem like a viable way to cope with distress while providing a sense of belonging and community among those who watch and post the videos.”
Now, Nancy Heath of McGill University and Stephen Lewis of the University of Guelph are attempting to reach out to the troubled youth through the Internet. They’ve created a website that provides personal stories, coping strategies and resources for teens. It also offers information and guidance for friends, romantic partners, family, as well as schools, medical and mental-health professionals.
Many of them don’t tend to seek help, noted Dr. Lewis. “But they are already engaged in many forms of social media,” he said, “so the Internet really does represent an opportunity for providing support.”
The website, Self-injury Outreach & Support, can be found at sioutreach.org.