Research carried out by The Mix, the UK’s leading digital support charity for young people, has found that 72% of 16-24-year olds think digital technology may be more of a force for good than bad when it comes to their mental health.
70% of 16-24-year-olds surveyed said that they actively sought support from online communities when they were feeling low or lonely, while only 13% said they had no digital friends, and did not access any kind of online community that could support their mental health.
However, many young people did report that being online, especially when using social media, could have a negative effect on their mental wellbeing. 17% said they felt that digital life was bad for their mental health while 42% said that seeing friends having fun online made them feel worse when they were already feeling low.
In response to these findings, The Mix is launched the #NoNormal campaign for World Mental Health Day. The campaign focuses on the reality of digital life for young people, showcasing the experiences of five young people who talk openly about their own mental health and share insights into how they use digital technology as an invaluable support tool.
The Charity hopes the campaign will encourage under 25-year-olds to use digital in a more balanced way, accessing positive support through online communities – such as those offered by The Mix – when they need it and understanding less helpful behaviours.
Currently three million under 25s are part of The Mix community, where they can access peer-to-peer and expert support via social media, a website (themix.org.uk) and message boards as well as a text service, helpline and virtual counselling service.
Chris Martin, The Mix CEO, says: “Technology is an integral part of young people’s lives yet there is growing concern that it may be a leading driver of poor mental health. This survey clearly shows that we still have much to learn from young people themselves about how they use digital to support their mood – especially when they cannot access face-to-face support. Online life is not going away. We need to do more to promote positive opportunities online while educating on the behaviors that may affect well-being negatively. “
Jess Burley, Global Chief Executive of m/SIX and a trustee of The Mix, said: “Social media and digital are often maligned when it comes to young people’s mental health, but it’s encouraging to see technology can be as much a force for good as anything else. It’s been great to see all the positive steps the tech community has taken to address the issue of young people’s mental health – and these new insights from The Mix will help guide the industry as we continue in our mission to create an online world which supports the wellbeing of people of all ages.”
The Mix – is a free, confidential information and crisis support service for under 25s, helping over 3 million young people in the UK every year. Whatever issue a young person is facing, The Mix is always there for them – online, over the phone, via text or social media.
Today’s young people face an unprecedented range of challenges that underpin a shocking rise in mental health problems. The Mix provides advice, peer support, signposting and access to online counsellors to ensure that every young person can make informed choices about their mental wellbeing – wherever and whenever they are.
The Mix is one of the founding partners of The Royal Foundation Heads Together campaign.
Tell the world why you are rejecting normal this #WMHD18. Mention us and use #NoNormal and we’ll share our favourites.
- 72.20% say that digital technology was a mix of good and bad for your mental health (6.8% say good, 17,2% said bad).
- 39.6% say that they seek support from online communities when they are feeling lonely, 31% when they are feeling low, 29% when they are worried about something and only 13.4% say that they do not have digital friends/use online communities.
- 87.42% say that when feeling low they use digital technology to make them feel better.
- 54.09% say that chatting via social media/messaging friends makes them feel better when feeling low (and 46.31% said that online gaming made them feel better).
- 42.71% say that seeing friends having fun online makes them feel worse.
- 75.8% agree (or strongly agree) that there is no such thing as being normal