Suicidal behaviours and moderator support in online health communities: a scoping review

Perry, Amanda and Pyle, Denise and Lamont-Mills, Andrea ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9109-3462 and du Plessis, Carol and du Preez, Jan (2021) Suicidal behaviours and moderator support in online health communities: a scoping review. BMJ Open, 11:e047905.

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Abstract

Objectives: Online support can be a crucial source of support for individuals experiencing suicidal behaviours, with forum moderators being pivotal in terms of the role they play in times of personal mental health emergencies. This study identified what is empirically known about the professional practices of health professionals who are online mental health forum moderators and provide support to individuals experiencing suicidal behaviours.

Design: The Levac, Colquhoun and O’Brien extension of the Arksey and O’Malley scoping review framework was used.

Search strategy: The Psychology Collection (EBSCO), PsycINFO (EBSCO), Web of Science, Taylor and Francis Online, SAGE Journals and Science Direct databases were searched for articles that featured a result relating to an online forum; included participants who worked as online moderators or facilitators and focused on suicide or self-harm. Results were limited to peer-reviewed articles published in English from 1990 onwards. As a quality assurance measure, grey literature (nonacademic literature) was not included. Reference lists of included articles were hand-searched.

Results: There were 397 articles initially identified after applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, with five articles included for synthesis. All articles received a moderate quality rating. Only one article featured a moderator who was a qualified health professional; the moderators in the remaining articles were volunteers who undertook preservice training. We found that there is little research that examines the professional working practices of online moderators who support individuals experiencing suicidal behaviours.

Conclusions: The dearth of research focusing on the professional practices of online forum moderators is cause for concern given that individuals experiencing suicidal behaviours are increasingly turning to online forums when in crisis. Future research should focus on online moderators’ practice through interviewing moderators about their professional practices and by examining online moderator practice as it occurs in situ.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2021 05:58
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2021 05:58
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5299 Other psychology > 529999 Other psychology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047905
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42644

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