Along with different current analysis, such findings recommend that “self-injury affects a substantial number of individuals, and that rates may be increasing,” Giordano mentioned.
“As the prevalence of self-injury increases,” she continued, “it is not surprising that hashtags related to self-injury also are increasing on social media platforms.”
Giordano and her colleagues discovered a number of indications that that is precisely what’s taking place.
For instance, the staff famous that whereas the hashtag #selfharm was nearly by no means utilized in January 2018, by December, it accompanied greater than 45,000 teen posts.
And by yr’s finish, solely one of many 5 highlighted NSSI tags — #selfharmmm — noticed a drop in total utilization.
As to what compels teenagers to share their self-harm experiences on social media, Giordano steered they seemingly have a number of wants that they suppose apps like Instagram can fulfill.
And it may additionally mirror a dangerous copy-cat phenomenon. The extra teenagers see others sharing posts about self-harm, the extra curious they turn into and the extra inclined they could be to mimic what they see after which share that have on-line, Giordano mentioned.
Whatever the principle motivator, the evaluation raised a troubling concern — the 2 mostly related hashtags with these associated to self-injury had been #suicide and #melancholy.
“Therefore, it appears that the individuals using self-harm-related hashtags are associating it with suicidal thoughts as well as feelings of depression,” she mentioned. “To me, this emphasizes the necessity to talk about mental health with youth and guarantee they’ve the assist they want.”
That thought was seconded by Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medication doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who reviewed the findings.
“The significant increase in social media posts related to self-injury is a wake-up call not only to children and teens, but also to their parents and caretakers,” he mentioned.
Noting that “the reason behind such an increase is complex,” Glatter steered that self-harm behaviors resembling reducing “can be a cry for help, and serve as a way to alert parents, friends and teachers of ongoing emotional pain and suffering.” And, he added, emotions of isolation, melancholy and anxiousness in all probability received worse as soon as the COVID pandemic took maintain.