The present study examined the use of social networking websites to give and receive social support. Participants were asked to create a hypothetical status update about a stressful time and rate their reactions to one of six messages that either contain information about calling a crisis line or indicate that no one responded. Messages with personal involvement increased positive affect, and any of the messages were received as more supportive than no message at all. In general, messages that were private were perceived as more supportive than public ones, even among individuals who felt
stigmatized or depressed. An offer of personal involvement was perceived positively for most, but could be less helpful to the highly depressed or if the messages were sent publicly to individuals experiencing low levels of stigma. Overall, there is promise in using online communication tools in the treatment and prevention of mental health issues.