University boss speaks out about mental health and social media

A university boss has highlighted the adverse effects social media can have on mental health following the deaths of pupils at his college.

Vice-chancellor of Bristol University, Hugh Brady, suggests that students were fighting a losing battle to appear “perfect” on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The warning comes after the death of seven of his students at Bristol University.

Mr Brady said schools are facing record referral rates, with the number of students seeking help for and declaring mental health issues tripling over the last five to eight years.

While social media may not necessarily trigger mental health issues, he says the burden of social media may be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

On social media it’s “not ok” to have a bad day, he said. “In the world of social media you have to look like you’re happy even when you are not.”

In May last year, a survey revealed photo-sharing platform Instagram was having the worst effect on people’s mental wellbeing, while video platform YouTube was the most beneficial.

The study recommended increased education around cyber safety and providing more help to protect the mental wellbeing of young people.

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