GreenJam - Digital: The good, bad and the ugly
Theme: An event for future leaders looking at the positive and negative impacts of social media platforms on our mental health with a focus on younger people working in the advertising and marketing sector.
Date: 2nd July 2019
Venue: The Collective, 14 Bedford Square, Fitzrovia, London, WC1B 3JA
Chris Martin (Chair)– Chris has worked in digital and the third sector for over 20 years. He is CEO of The Mix, an advice and support charity for under 25s that reaches some 3 million young people every year through virtual channels.
Marc Caulfield – Marc had a long career at director level in the advertising industry before becoming CEO of Demolish the Wall – a training org focussing on culture change around mental health in the workplace. (View from the workplace)
Francesca Rogers – Francesca worked in publishing, radio, outdoor promotion before retraining as a BACP Qualified counsellor, supervisor and coach. (Clinical expert)
Cliff Manning – Creative Director at Parentzone and an associate at the Carnegie Trust who is interested in how tech impacts real people's lives through education, government, art & science.
Are Mental Health Cases on the rise?
We live in a self-editing society that has an “always on” culture. The pressures of having a perfect digital self are a contributor to the rise of Mental Health cases. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is some historic data we have no control of. Though it was found that digital has a role to play in the rise of mental health cases there is an inconsistent approach to reporting due to the transactional nature of Mental Health reporting.
Is it the Technology or just human nature?
The answer to this is a bit of both. Technology has changed the way we communicate. The unfortunate consequence of the facelessness of digital is that communication can be lost in translation especially in the case of emails. Short and to the matter of fact emails can be wrongly construed as aggressive when in fact the sender meant nothing of the sort. This has a detrimental effect on self-esteem due to a culture of comparing yourself to everyone. Technology can heighten issues that already exist.
Is there a different effect on generations?
The mechanics behind social platforms are largely the same. Different generations may use different platforms however whether it be LinkedIn or Facebook/Instagram they are based on the same elements such as liking and sharing. There is an element of self-validation and approval from your peers. This is due to us trying to constantly fix our dopamine levels through Social Media for example by getting as many likes as possible.
Useful measures and controls in the workplace
We have realised that blanket solutions do not work. Companies should ensure that people managers are trained to spot signs of Mental Health and this includes having Mental Health First Aid Champions in the workplace.
What is the role we see digital playing that has led to better mental health?
The great thing about the digital realm is the ease of access to Mental Health services. Also the anonymity of digital makes it easier for people to share their problems and confide while the development of apps for specific areas of mental health give us more solutions. Digital has improved communication of distances especially for relationships between family and friends.
Questions from the floor
Should Influencers share the responsibility in promoting better mental health?
Unfortunately, a large majority of influencers do not practice good mental health but revert to sales tactics and are not known to sacrifice sales for good mental health practices. If any questions do arise from followers dealing with Mental Health, in most cases influencers are not equipped to deal with them. We need better regulation and for developers to follow guidance.
What apps are there to help with mental health?
Visit https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/ for clinically approved apps
Visit https://www.orcha.co.uk/ for digital health
· Be present and mindful when interacting in face to face situations
· Ensure we have breaks from tech when working
· Ensure you enough sleep – switch off from digital in good time before bed
· Listen to your body
· Switch off phone when with people
· Active choice to have your own time – no phone