‘Social Media Is Bad For Your Mental Health’
On the day The Times newspaper reported on its front page that
Facebook admits “social media is bad for your mental health”, the
Royal College of Psychiatrists held its 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
Two teams debated the motion “This house believes that social
media is bad for your mental health”, Dr Peter Haddad and Dr Beth
Masterson proposing the motion, and Dr Abigail Swerdlow and Dr
Priya Raj opposing.
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 distance
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
Many students were keen to know more about training in
psychiatry and this annual event helps to both destigmatise mental
health illness and inspire psychiatry as a career.
So, is social media bad for your mental health or part of
supporting people with mental health problems? Can it be both?