Online mental health communities, self-efficacy and transition to further support

Julie Prescott, Amy Rathbone, Terry Hanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: This study is exploratory research which aims to understand how users gain support from the online mental health community (OMHC) 18 percent and whether engagement with this community may possibly lead to increased self-efficacy. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 128 users of an OMHC, 18 percent, completed an online questionnaire that asked open-ended questions about the community and how users engaged with it. The results were analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods. Findings: Based on the construct of self-efficacy within social cognitive theory, it is evident that the platform provides users with increased self-efficacy and encourages further support seeking in a professional capacity, either via an online or offline platform. Originality/value: OMHCs provide a therapeutic, peer-to-peer space for users in times of crisis which have the possibility to increase self-efficacy when engaged with. However, users must acknowledge that although the online platform is an efficacious resource, it cannot be used as a principal proxy for offline treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-344
Number of pages16
JournalMental Health Review Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2020


  • Community
  • Mental health
  • Online
  • Self-efficacy
  • Support


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