How Young Minds are supporting the youth in the digital age
Agency News
Culture & Ethics

How Young Minds are supporting the youth in the digital age

Neve Fear-Smith
Neve Fear-Smith

We’re living in a ‘chronically online’ world, where 90% of teens aged 13-17 have used social media. Despite platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram offering excellent sources of entertainment, community-building, and often education, there have been reports suggesting that the rising usage of social media among young people is affecting their mental health.

At Digital Voices, many of the brands and creators we work with on social campaigns are targeting a Gen Z or Gen Alpha audience, so we believe it’s extremely important to openly discuss the topic of mental health on our platform.

Our upcoming webinar ‘Mindful Creation: Nurturing Your Mental Health as an Online Content Creator’ aims to allow creators to share their own experiences with how they nourish their own mental well-being, and how they support their audiences to do the same.

We hope that brands, agencies, and anyone else tuning into the webinar who works in the digital media space will learn how they can support those they work with to ensure that at the heart of everything they do, the mental health of everyone involved is considered.

We invited the charity, Young Minds to share their insights on the panel. 

A little intro to Young Minds

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health. The charity is at the forefront of a vital mission: ensuring that every young person receives timely and essential mental health assistance, without exception!

Through fundraising, volunteering, and the support of ambassadors – including YouTuber Daniel Howell – the Young Minds team equip young people with invaluable resources to nurture their mental well-being.

We chatted with Louis Collenette, Senior Digital Content Officer at Young Minds.

At Young Minds, you work with young people up to the age of 25. Why is it so important to provide mental health support and resources to this demographic in particular?

Young people today are facing huge pressures, unique to their generation. Living through a pandemic during key developmental years has caused anxiety, social isolation, and months of missed education. 

The cost-of-living crisis is disproportionately impacting the most disadvantaged communities and added to this are fears and worries about the climate crisis and global conflicts – plus academic pressures. 

All of this is causing an avalanche of referrals for mental health help. Services aren’t able to keep up with this demand, leaving young people waiting months and even years to get the help they need.

Has, and if so how, has the work that Young Minds do changed as social media has become more prominent in the lives of young people?

The pressures that come with social media are certainly a part of the picture when it comes to the crisis in young people’s mental health. But the use of social media is one of a number of interconnected factors, and it would be reductive to blame everything on social media.

Young people's relationship with social media is complex and brings both positives and negatives when it comes to their mental health. Young people tell us how social media provides an important space where they gather to socialize, share information, learn, and explore, but they also tell us about the negative impact it can have. 

Many have told us that they are routinely shown distressing content online, that they feel trapped and unable to leave social media sites and some say they spend more time than they would like to online. We also know that algorithms make it harder to take breaks from social media and serve content that many find harmful.

Given the importance of social media in young people’s lives, it is good that the Online Safety Bill will soon be law. We hope that social media companies take action to make their platforms safer for young and vulnerable users.

Want to learn more from Louis Collenette, Senior Digital Content Officer at Young Minds, alongside content creators Megan Short, David Larbi, Tasha Bailey, and Max Selwood? Then make sure you’ve signed up to attend our free webinar at 3pm GMT on 5th October. 

Sign up now!

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