School Mental Health

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 56–67 | Cite as

An Examination of the Scope and Nature of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Online Activities: Implications for School Mental Health Professionals

  • Jamie M. DugganEmail author
  • N. L. Heath
  • Stephen P. Lewis
  • Alyssa L. Baxter
Original Paper


Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is an increasing concern among mental health professionals working with youth. The presence of NSSI on the Internet has grown considerably over the last decade. Studies investigating NSSI Internet activities suggest a strong adolescent audience. Research suggests that the general Internet experiences for youth who are currently engaging in or have a history of NSSI may be different than that of youth who do not engage in the behavior. The present study is the first to simultaneously examine the scope and nature of NSSI content across informational/interactive websites, social networking websites, and the popular video-sharing website YouTube, in order to provide mental health practitioners with a multifaceted description of online content related to NSSI. Results suggest that peer driven, informal websites have a variety of triggering content and are accessed more often than professionally driven websites. NSSI is strongly represented among social networking websites, and YouTube, evidenced by large group memberships and video view counts. Based on these findings, a series of practical implications and recommendations are provided to assist mental health practitioners in assessing online NSSI-related activities among youth who are currently engaging in or have a history of NSSI, with implications for intervention and recovery.


Self-injury Self-harm Internet Online activities School mental health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie M. Duggan
    • 1
    Email author
  • N. L. Heath
    • 2
  • Stephen P. Lewis
    • 3
  • Alyssa L. Baxter
    • 1
  1. 1.School and Applied Child Psychology, Department of Educational and Counselling PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Human Development and School and Applied Child PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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