Risks and Benefits of Social Media for the Mental Health of Adolescents

Dr Jon Goldin

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Mildred Creak Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children

Wednesday 7th September 2022 8pm Risks and Benefits of Social Media for the Mental Health of Adolescents

Jon Goldin has been head of service at the Mildred Creak Unit for the past 20 years; and was joint Head of Department of Psychological and Mental Health Services at GOSH; and joint Programme Director, GOSH / Royal London Higher Training Scheme in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for many years until 2022. He was Vice-Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatry Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Faculty for 4 years) and is the College Lead on Parliamentary Engagemenr. He has an interest in engagement and lobbying for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and has made many TV and Radio presentations on this topic.

In his talk Jon explained that we know that rates of mental health difficulties amongst young people are (sadly) rising. For example, the UK NHS Digital study showed rates of probable mental disorders have increased since 2017. In 2020, 1 in 6 children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from 1 in 9 in 2017.

At the same time, we know that use of Social Media amongst young people has been increasing significantly. This is correlation – we cannot infer causation – but these trends were explored further.

He said that we also know that Young People’s Social Media use can have both risks and benefits. In his talk he made specific reference to several areas of concern: Sleep, Depression/Self Harm/Suicide, Eating Disorders, Cyberbullying, Safeguarding and Addiction. Helpful aspects were considered, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic; and he proposed sone suggestions for mitigating risks.

Watch a recording of the event here.