15 Sep Time to reset
Previously unseen research from Facebook has been leaked showing the impact its Instagram app has on teenagers. For at least the last two years, Facebook staff have been studying the impact the app has on the mental health of its younger users, repeatedly finding it is harmful for a large proportion, particularly teenage girls – making body image issues worse for one in three of them.
The causal links between excessive social media use and mental health have been spoken about regularly – both in public forums and private settings. But this is the first time Facebook’s own internal thinking has been laid bare.
When you combine the potential damaging effects of social media with increased stress levels and a sense of loneliness brought on by the pandemic, it is no surprise that one in four people will now experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.
Technology for good
This got me thinking, how can technology help? And are there companies out there creating technology to help combat mental health issues?
To my surprise, there are loads! In the UK alone there is Myndr, a support platform that helps company leaders and employees deal with common mental health issues via peer-to-peer support; Healios, a virtual care platform that delivers specialist clinical assessments, therapy sessions, and bespoke support programmes through its telemedicine platform; Thymia, which empowers clinicians to assess depression faster and more accurately using AI and video games, and many others.
Making a statement
PR can also help by raising awareness of the difficulties we all face in maintaining our mental wellbeing. I am reminded of a powerful campaign video from suicide prevention charity, CALM, featuring boxer Tyson Fury.
The charity digitally removed Tyson’s opponent, Deontay Wilder, from the real footage to highlight how sometimes our toughest opponents are the ones you cannot see. It is hard-hitting stuff (no pun intended) so give it a watch: