Young people's debate 2017
On the day The Times newspaper reported on its front page that
Facebook admits “social media is bad for your mental health”, we
held our annual debate for young people to a combined audience of
600 school pupils. This popular annual event, always hugely
oversubscribed, is an educational initiative of the college’s
Public Engagement Committee.
Two teams debated the motion “This house believes that social
media is bad for your mental health”. Dr Peter Haddad and Dr Beth
Masterson proposed the motion, and Dr Abigail Swerdlow and Dr Priya
Raj opposed it. Combining humour, statistical research and friendly
rivalry, the two teams put forward their arguments, including
noting the increasing rates of young people’s mental health
illness, cyberbullying and isolation, but also the positives of
social media; the support many find online and maintaining long
Chaired by Dr Jim Bolton and Dr Gil Myers, pre- and post-debate
votes were counted and a live twitter feed was co-ordinated and
widely participated in by those attending, despite the
technological issues noted by the Times the following day! The
motion was defeated at both debates, but the audience questions,
comments and discussion was both animated and insightful.
Many students were keen to know more about training in
psychiatry, and this annual event helps both destigmatise mental
health illness and inspire psychiatry as a career.
So, is social media bed for your mental health or part of
supporting people with mental health problems? Can it be both?
Watch and find out.