This International Friendship Day on August 7th, young people in Brighton & Hove are being urged to join a campaign to promote better online mental health by local counselling service, E-Motion, which is a partnership between YMCA DownsLink Group and the Young People’s Centre (YPC).
The service, which provides free online counselling to 13-25s in Brighton & Hove, wants to encourage positive, supportive online behaviours amongst young people and is calling for young people to join its International Friendship Day campaign by taking to social media and sharing their most important qualities in online friendships by using the hashtag #friendsmatter.
E-Motion says that many young people talk about experiences of cyberbullying and mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression as a result of their experiences online.
According to research, 88% of young people have seen bullying, aggressive or argumentative behaviour online, and 25% have had face to face arguments as a result of social networking sites such as Facebook. The service claims that more support is needed for young people online to help them better manage online friend and relationships as Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and cyberbullying can have a significant effect on young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Project Leader Jay Tregenza says: ‘We know that young people are spending increasing amounts of time online and whilst for many this is a positive experience, some young people report negative effects on their emotional wellbeing. This could be due to the pressure of keeping up with friends on social media as well as trying to navigate sensitive online relationships. Where the nature of digital communication can mean things like tone of voice and body language is missing, this makes arguments more likely. We want to appeal to young people to be more critical users of the online world, champion and share positive social behaviours that promote peer support, and make being online an emotionally healthy place to be for our teenagers! All of our counsellors at e-motion model positive online interaction and are specially trained in doing this.”
Young people can get involved in the campaign by taking to social media and posting their most important qualities in friendships online. Don’t for get to use the hashtag #friendsmatter to be entered into a prize draw to win Love2Shop vouchers!