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Exploring the experiences of people vlogging about severe mental illness on YouTube: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Sangeorzan, I and Andriopoulou, P and Livanou, M (2018) Exploring the experiences of people vlogging about severe mental illness on YouTube: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 246. pp. 422-428. ISSN 0165-0327

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Abstract

© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Background: Evidence suggests that, compared to the general population, individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) are more likely to engage in online social networking and share personal experiences through blogging. However, little is known about the impact of creating and publicly sharing mental health videos (vlogging) on individuals with self-identified SMIs. Aims: The present study aims to investigate the experiences of individuals with self-identified SMIs who vlog about their SMI on YouTube. Methods: YouTube was systematically searched using four key search items (“schizophrenia”, “bipolar disorder”, “major depressive disorder” and “schizoaffective disorder”). After manually screening approximately 50 channels, a set of 30 videos by individuals with self-identified SMIs discussing their experience of vlogging was selected and transcribed verbatim. An interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was employed for the analysis of the data. Results: The analysis produced three global themes: Minimising Isolation; Vlogging as Therapy; and Fighting stigma. Limitations: The data collected was limited as regards depth of content by the inability to ask follow-up questions. Conclusions: The findings suggest that engaging in the act of vlogging about mental illness may benefit and encourage recovery in individuals with SMIs by providing them with peer support, enhancing self-efficacy, and reducing self-stigma. Future research should employ interviews to produce more robust data for analysis.

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