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Being Suicidal On-line: And Misc Other Stuff


What else can I say in response to placing the American Self-Help Clearinghouse’s Self-Help Sourcebook OnLine up and watching the response to it, which has been great! In one week, we’ve already had nearly 500 visitors to the book to leaf through it and seek self-help support resources in their community. The crowd from the Clearinghouse are grateful and happy, as am I. We’re very glad to have been to bring this to the on-line community.

I recently wrote a review in response to a paper about suicidal ideation on-line. It was an interesting paper by a graduate student whom I’ve had e-mail contacts with in the past, and whose work I respect with regards to what he’s written about on-line support groups. In this paper, he looked at how suicidal thoughts are expressed through on-line support groups, and what are some typical reactions of the group members (and professionals who might be lurking).

One of the points he was trying to get to in this paper is to examine how professionals can be more effective in suicidal interventions on-line. But one of the biggest differences between on-line support groups and real-world support groups was largely overlooked. And that is this — that in real-life support groups, professionals are rarely welcome to join in unless they too are suffering from the same problem. On-line, professionals can lurk in any group they want, virtually unknown and unseen. However, both groups react in much the same way to professionals posting or contributing to their support groups… Most basically resent professional intervention, unless they have become an accepted member of the group (and even then, it’s sometimes iffy).

So although in the past I have argued that professionals should intervene on-line when they become aware of suicidal ideation, I now water-down that recommendation and add an important caveat — professional crisis intervention should only be done when the professional is known to the group in question and hopefully, the person in question. Professionals should then act in a role as a compassionate human being and not necessarily as a professional. I think professionals are often very scary in the actions they propose to others who are feeling suicidal and that important factors — like the person’s background, history, and lethality — cannot be adequately determined to help guide an intervention. The best intervention in these cases likely remains the support of known group members and the actions they choose to take to help intervene on the suicidal person’s behalf.

Double wow. This past Wednesday night, Psych Central on the WBS chat server was the most crowded it’s ever been, with over a dozen people participating! Thank you all for coming and I hope to see you again next week. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, check it out from my home page. This chat server doesn’t require any type of special software or configuration and it’s easy to use!

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that computers are reliable.

After successfully and finally getting our high-speed line to the Internet installed on Psych Central last week, we encountered a strange problem later in the week which continuously and regularly would crash our old IBM PowerPC every hour. Until we went home that evening, when it proceeded to stay up most of the night. The good news is that we have long-since ordered a Motorola PowerPC with dual processors to take over for the current Internet server, which has had a history of being buggy and somewhat unreliable. The new server should be installed and on-line by the end of March. This has nothing to do with my home page, or much of anything else, but just something that was floating around in my head and needed to be said…(??)

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That’s it for this time… As always, keep in good mental health!


Being Suicidal On-line: And Misc Other Stuff

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Being Suicidal On-line: And Misc Other Stuff. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Oct 2018 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Oct 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.