Consultation Response: on Social Media and Mental Health
This is a response to the All Party Parliamentary Group’s call for evidence for the inquiry into ‘Managing the Impact of Social Media on Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing’.
How The Diana Award’s work ties in to the subject of this inquiry
There is firmly established evidence of the impact bullying has on long-term mental health concerns. We define bullying as the repeated negative behaviour that is intended to make others feel upset, uncomfortable or unsafe. This type of behaviour can impact on various aspects of mental health, including emotional functioning, relationships, and academic performance. As a charity that focuses on anti-bullying, our work has indirect but important implications for young people’s mental health. Increasingly, our training has been adapted to reflect the ever-present nature of social media in young people’s lives. 85% of teachers and staff who oversee the implementation of our programmes report that their students witness cyberbullying daily. Given our area of expertise, our emphasis here is on tackling cyberbullying and promoting digital resilience.
Our trainings are based on the premise that for young people, the distinction between online and offline is becoming increasingly blurred and that online and offline bullying are not separable but often part of a single lived experience. We use a peer-to-peer model, training young people to become ‘Anti-Bullying Ambassadors’ within their schools, working with the support of staff to prevent as well as tackle cases of bullying. In total, the Diana Award has trained over 25,000 young people as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors who are responsible for running whole-school campaigns to tackle bullying on and offline.