Mental Health Awareness Week – Encouraging positive mental health online

Posted on 17 May 2019

This past week has marked Mental Health Awareness Week, exploring in detail the issue of body image.  In this blog we look at some key resources that can help foster positive mental health among young people, including those specifically looking at body image.

The internet can play an essential role in fostering and encouraging good mental health for young people. At the same time, there are potential negative impacts on young people for example  negative online relationships, body image pressures and exposure to upsetting or even harmful content.

There are a number of resources that you can use to cover the issues which may have an impact on young people’s mental health:

Looking at body image, critical thinking and pornography online

Myth vs Reality, our new PSHE Toolkit for 11-14s, explores the topics of online pornography, healthy relationships and body image online.

One of the lessons in the toolkit looks at body image online, the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The activities explore the pressure on young people to create their own online brands and what impact the internet and social media in particular can have on how young people feel about their bodies.

Through the toolkit students will also consider what myths are portrayed through pornography online and how this could impact on how a young person feels about their body, relationships and gender roles. They will explore strategies for resisting the pressure to watch pornography and receive clear signposting to advice and support on where to get reliable information about sex and relationships from online. 

In this resource there is clear signposting to advice and support for young people who are concerned about body image or online pressures. 

Find out more about the Myth vs Reality Toolkit.

Building Digital Resilience

Created for 11-14 year olds, our digital resilience resource helps young people to develop strategies to help themselves and also to help their friends if they are having a difficult time online.

This lesson aims to look at the positive and negative experiences young people have online, consider the impact they may have and devise ways to build digital resilience. 

Find out more about the Digital Resilience Lesson Plan.

Stepping up to online sexual harassment

As part of our brand new Project deSHAME we have created a practical campaign toolkit to address the issue of online sexual harassment amongst young people aged 13 – 17 years. 

Online sexual harassment can make a person feel threatened, exploited, coerced, humiliated, upset, sexualised or discriminated against. These resources are designed to empower young people to step up and speak up against this kind of behaviour if they see it happening online, whilst also providing information and guidance on where to go for support if they experience online sexual harassment.

Find out more about the Step Up, Speak Up resources.

Empowering young people to make a change online

One key way to foster positive mental health is through empowering young people to make change and become experts in their community. The Childnet Digital Leaders Programme puts young people at the forefront of online safety in their school community, with 75% of teachers saying that the programme has improved their Digital Leaders wellbeing.

The programme is open to both primary and secondary aged pupils, where groups of Digital Leaders complete training through an engaging, informative and fun online platform, working through e-learning modules to equip them with the skills to become peer mentors in their schools, and help keep others safe online.

Find out more about the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme.

For younger years

Being a good friend online is a key step for many young people in developing positive mental health and wellbeing for both themselves and others.

Our Digiduck story for younger years is an engaging online safety storybook, which looks at what young people can do to be a good and supportive friend online. The book follows Digiduck as he makes some big decisions about friendships and responsibilities online.

Find out more about the Digiduck books.

If you are concerned about a young person you work with

If you’re a professional working with young people and have an online safety concern, you can contact the Professionals Online Safety Helpline on: 

[email protected] or call 0344 381 4772* Monday to Friday: 10am-4pm

 

*Calls cost the same as standard landline starting '01' or '02'. If your phone tariff offers inclusive calls to landlines, calls to 0345 numbers will also be included.

 

Further support for young people

The internet can be a great source of support and advice for many young people, with many places that they can go to if something worries or upsets them online, these include:

  • Visit www.youngminds.org.uk for advice about young people’s mental health, including their parent helpline (0808 802 5544).
  • Childline give free and impartial advice for young people about any issues they may be facing. There are multiple ways to get in contact with Childnet, see childline.org.uk/get-support for more information.
  • PAPYRUS is the UK Charity for the prevention of young suicide, find out more about how to contact them here: https://papyrus-uk.org/
  • The Mix offer free information and advice for young people under 25 on a variety of issues https://www.themix.org.uk/
  • You can also visits http://www.samaritans.org if you need to talk to someone.
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