Mobile Platform for Young People Debuts Critical Support Resource Library Centering Holiday Depression and Self-Harm Ideation
selfsea powered by Peer Health Exchange, created in collaboration with 13-19 year olds, launches native content library for those dealing with family anxieties, holiday depression as well as self-directed violence support
December 15, 2022, Oakland, CA– (Trigger warning: suicide and self-harming themes mentioned within) In December selfsea, a digital app of over 100,000 youth users nationwide created inclusively by and for young people aged 13-19 powered by national non-profit Peer Health Exchange, will introduce an extended library of content that addresses how to navigate the stresses of going home or dealing with identity in front of family as well as support for self-harming and suicidal triggers.
As the winter holidays approach and youth are forced to spend time away from their school and peers, there’s a significant potential for holiday and family-focused anxieties. These become opportunities for self harm and other unhealthy behaviors. According to the Trevor Project’s 2022 study on LGBTQ+ youth self-harm and suicide ideation, 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. LGBTQ+ youth who found their school to be LGBTQ-affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide. Further, according to a 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics study on youth 2016-2021, Emergency Department Suicide Ideation visits increased 59% through 2021.
selfsea as a mobile (and anonymous) platform offers end to end resources via peer-to-peer moderated support, videos created by other youth addressing specific issues that impact BIPOC and LGBTQ+ identifying persons, and more timely, the challenges of not feeling wanted or fitting in at home during the holiday season. Black and BIPOC youth are especially at risk, with Black youth as the highest rates of reporting attempts amongst youth 14-18, accounting for 11.8% of the adolescent population, according to a 2019 CDC study on self-violence amongst youth.
“selfsea is an influential platform that provides a safe digital space for youth from diverse backgrounds to share and explore a range of essential topics,” said Dr. Danielle Busby, University of Texas Medical Branch and researcher into how trauma and self-directed violence affects youth today. “Access to such a space during adolescence, a time of identity development and a desire for increased autonomy, can positively influence overall mental health and well-being for youth. Further, statistics indicating that suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescence, heightens the importance of providing safe spaces that seek to positively impact adolescent mental well-being.”
The newly expanded content is introduced alongside carefully youth-curated external resources that will live on the platform, where users can filter resources by topic and identities tailored to themselves. The mobile app features selfsea’s proprietary ‘communities’ feature where verified users restricted to ages 13-19 can post questions on moderated discussion boards. App use is completely confidential-- while users have to enter an email address in order to access, that information isn't seen by anyone. Users can choose to share this profile information with other users, or keep it private or remain anonymous depending on their comfort level.
For young people who have parental locks installed on their devices or don’t have personal mobile devices, the web version of selfsea grants access on public (shared) computers without needing to provide personal information. selfsea contains peer-created and vetted digital content on intersectional topics from housing insecurity and bullying, to sexual wellness and identity discussions around race and sexuality.
“The youth who have worked alongside us for over two years on selfsea made it a point to highlight the critical role that relatable content and connection to trusted resources plays in young people having the tools they need for their mental health/wellbeing,” said Robin Rich, President of Peer Health Exchange’s Youth Innovation Lab. “We know that this time of year the general population experiences high rates of depression/anxiety and possible self-violent suicidal ideation, especially young people. selfsea is a youth centered and designed product that was developed with great care to address these specific issues not just for the holidays but for any time they need support.”
Youth can download selfsea and start getting the information they need by visiting the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). selfsea’s wider video library and educational resources are accessible from any device at http://www.selfsea.org/.
selfsea, powered by Peer Health Exchange, reaches over 100,000 young people with support, resources, and stories from young adults who’ve been there. We believe self-care is community care. Our app was designed together with young people as a safe digital place where they can see themselves reflected within a supportive and inclusive community that prioritizes their identity and experiences about mental health, sexual health, and beyond.http://www.selfsea.org/
About Peer Health Exchange:
Founded in 2003, Peer Health Exchange aims to build healthier communities with young people. Peer Health Exchange’s mission is to build healthier communities with and for young people. Together, we create education opportunities for peers to share the tools and resources young people need to make healthy decisions. www.peerhealthexchange.org.