Comparison of Suicidal People Who Use the Internet for Suicide-Related Reasons and Those Who Do Not: Survey Study in Austria

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Abstract

Background: Studies have shown that suicidal individuals who use the Internet for suicide-related purposes are more suicidal than nonsuicide-related users, but evidence from European countries is lacking. Aims: We assessed differences between suicidal individuals who go online for suicide-related purposes and other suicidal individuals in Austria. Method: Participants were 53 individuals aged between 18 and 24 years who felt suicidal in the past year and completed an anonymous online survey. Results: Individuals who went online for suicide-related purposes were more suicidal, and more depressed, compared with individuals who did not use the Internet for suicide-related purposes. There were no large differences with regard to social anxiety and perceived barriers for help-seeking between the two groups. Conclusion: This study finds that suicidal online users are more depressed and suicidal than nonusers in a sample from Central Europe. Online interventions to combat depression and suicidality need to be strengthened to reach out to this important target population.

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