Impact of online resources and social media on help-seeking behaviour in youth with psychotic symptoms
Early Interv Psychiatry
AIM: The objective of the study was to explore the content of existing online resources available to information-seeking youth as psychotic symptoms first emerge and determine how these resources may influence initiation of care. METHODS: Using 18 hypothetical search terms, developed by the Early Treatment Programme (ETP) staff, we searched three of the most popular websites used by the youth (Google, Facebook and Twitter) and extracted the first five hits from each. Sites were categorized into those that encouraged help seeking, those that potentially contribute to treatment delay, those with an undetermined impact and those that were unrelated to treatment. RESULTS: An alarmingly few of the first five hits from the top three online resources encourage potentially psychotic youth to seek professional evaluation. The majority of our search results yielded unmonitored chat forums that lacked a unified message. The remainder promoted stigma, normalized potentially psychotic experiences or were completely unrelated to mental health. CONCLUSION: We must develop innovative, easy-to-access and youth-focused online and social media experiences that encourage symptomatic youth to seek care.
Faculty, Northwell Researcher
School of Medicine; Northwell Health