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Go digital to reach young people with mental health concerns

Written by Lucy Harvey on 2nd November, 2018


-Survey found over 65 per cent of 16 – 24-year-olds would turn to online support for a mental health issue or concern

-Only one in three 16 – 24-year-olds would seek support from their family, friends or a medical professional

In the week that the Chancellor announced increased funding for young people’s mental health support, a new survey finds that young people are more likely to turn to online platforms for support than community-accessed options such as medical professionals, family or friends.

Polling released today by Censuswide and tootoot, the safeguarding and anti-bullying platform, shows that 40 per cent of British adults would seek online support from online platforms such as anonymous chat forums, phone apps and social media. This figure increases significantly for 16-24 year olds to 65 per cent, who would be most likely to turn to search engine Google when online.

The polling shows that young people are significantly less likely to turn to support from medical professionals, friends and family members, with only 33 per cent of 16-24 year olds saying they would seek support from them for their mental health issues and concerns.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British males remain less likely to seek support than women, with nearly one in five saying that they would not turn anywhere for support if they needed help with issues, or had concerns regarding mental health problems. Men are also less likely to confide in their friends or family than women – 39 per cent compared to 54 per cent respectively.

The results will be of particular interest to the Government, whose commitment to increase funding for young people’s mental health this week has been widely welcomed and will want to ensure all new resources are appropriate and accessible for young people.

Michael Brennan, Founder and Chief Executive at tootoot. said:

“The clear message here is that traditional community-based channels for accessing mental health support are not the places that young people are most likely to turn to for support.

“Whilst we welcome the Government’s commitment to increasing funding for young people’s mental health support – for example, the new crisis centres in A&E departments and schools-based teams announced in the Autumn Budget – we need to make sure that our efforts to encourage face to face conversations are supplemented by appropriate online support.

“Young people are going online for mental health support – they are using apps, websites and social media. Schools and Government funded community-based programmes must also consider how to access these young people online.”


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