Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Andrea H Tanner


This dissertation first examines the mental health content on the video-sharing site YouTube as a foundation for exploring the ways the mental health community (members and associates of the National Alliance on Mental Illness) have used, and may use, YouTube in the future for information seeking, social support seeking, information providing, and social support providing. Using a content analysis of a systematic sample of YouTube videos produced by the YouTube search engine for the terms 'mental health' and 'mental illness,' this study highlights types, topics and formats of mental health related content, including types of mental illnesses, as well as documenting participation around these videos in the form of views, comments, likes and dislikes. A survey based on the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Uses and Gratifications theory explores the attitudes, norms, past behaviors and intentions to use YouTube for mental health communication (information and support seeking, information and support providing). The study finds that there is a wealth of mental health material on YouTube, including personal stories, public service announcements and general information videos; however, while members of the mental health community have begun to explore YouTube for information and connection with others who share their experiences with mental illness, they are still concerned about credibility of information, as well as potential for being stigmatized for admitting to having a mental illness and loss of privacy.


© 2013, Caroline Belser Foster