With social media increasingly integrated into the lives of today’s teenagers, there are two urgent needs: for further research on online exposure to substance use and for clear recommendations to mental health practitioners, adolescents, and parents about the need to assess and monitor teens’ online exposure to substance use | Journal of Adolescent Health
Teens and Social Media
In 2015, 92% of teens aged 13 to 17 years reported going online daily, 24% were online “almost constantly,” and 71% used more than one social networking sit. Social media use is associated with mental health problems including depression, sleep disturbance, and eating concerns among young people. Social media perpetuates social comparison in a world where everything is curated, which is particularly problematic for teens who may be more prone to depressive cognitions in the face of such social comparison.
Social Media and Substance Use
Substance use is rampant and often glorified by celebrities and others on social media. There have been reports of social media being used as a strategy for selling drugs, with hashtags facilitating the process of pairing buyers with sellers. Tobacco, electronic cigarette, and alcohol industries have widely integrated social media platforms into marketing strategies that are fully accessible to teens. In this way social media has opened up doors for these industries to market to youth even when direct marketing to minors is against the law or supposed to be internally regulated. The burgeoning cannabis industry is opening up even more opportunities for teens to have exposure to advertising through social media. Exposure to substance use imagery is associated with subsequent onset in use, which is why drinking alcohol and using drugs in movies warrants an R rating. Social media is harder to regulate.
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement have published a new report, #StatusOfMind, examining the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health.
The report includes a league table of social media platforms according to their impact on young people’s mental health. YouTube tops the table as the most positive with Instagram and Snapchat coming out as the most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
RSPH and the Young Health Movement are calling for action from government, social media companies and policy makers to help promote the positive aspects of social media for young people, whilst mitigating the potential negatives. These recommendations include:
Introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media – include the support from young people for each of these recommendations
Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts, and discretely signpost to support
Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated
The potential of digital technology to make the lives of people with mental health difficulties better has never been greater | The Mental Elf
The advent of the smartphone and mobile internet access has created the conditions for an ever-expanding range of opportunities for the use of technology to influence outcomes in health. However, ethical considerations remain for professionals in suggesting the use of such technologies.
Myers, R.K. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health | Published online: 16 May 2017
Purpose: We examined the self-identified, postassault psychosocial needs of male adolescents to guide recovery and healing after being seen in an emergency department (ED) for a violence-related injury.
Conclusions: Despite experiencing minor physical injuries, assault-injured youth report clinically significant traumatic stress symptoms and recognize postinjury mental health needs. Results suggest that youth-focused early intervention services, particularly related to mental health, are acceptable and desired by youth soon after a violent injury.
The NHS Confederation Mental Health Network has published two papers looking at the mental health workforce.
The Future of the mental health workforce
The NHS Confederation Mental Health Network has published The future of the mental health workforce. This discussion paper presents data on the current picture of the mental health workforce and looks at emerging findings from research to identify the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the mental health workforce. A final report will be published later in 2017.
Mental health and integrated care
Also published is Mental health and community providers: lessons for integrated care. This briefing looks at how mental health and community provider organisations are exploring the multi-speciality provider model and how it can drive the delivery of integrated mental and physical healthcare. The briefing presents key points and lessons learned.
Childhood bullying may lead to long-lasting health consequences, impacting psychosocial risk factors for cardiovascular health well into adulthood, according to a new study. | via OnMedica
Findings from a study which tracked a diverse group of over 300 American men from first grade through their early thirties indicate that being a victim of bullying and being a bully were both linked to negative outcomes in adulthood.
The study, published in Psychological Science, showed that men who were bullies during childhood were more likely to smoke cigarettes and use marijuana, to experience stressful circumstances, and to be aggressive and hostile at follow-up more than 20 years later. Men who were bullied as children, on the other hand, tended to have more financial difficulties, felt more unfairly treated by others, and were less optimistic about their future two decades later.
These outcomes are especially critical, the researchers note, because they put the men at higher risk for poor health, including serious cardiovascular issues, later in life.