Young people, the internet and mental health

Young people, the internet and mental health

By Liz Lockhart

Technology could be the 21st century cure for suicide, depression, eating disorders and substance abuse according to the head of a new research centre.  The centre will investigate how internet and smartphone applications can be used to improve the mental health of young  people. 

Dr. Jane Burns from the Co-operative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing addressed the National Press Club this week and said that the internet could provide support to the large numbers of young people who do not seek help for their mental health issues.  Dr. Burns also said that 70% of young people who experienced mental health difficulties did not seek care.

Dr. Burns said ‘For a generation that has grown up with the internet and web-enables devices, accessing support online feels comfortable, safe and easy.  Its anonymity and 24-hour availability are added advantages for a young person that is not yet ready to speak to someone face-to-face or by phone.’

The centre only began operation last month and Burns said that the centre hoped to develop technological solutions to mental health problems.

She said ‘Is technology the 21st century vaccine that potentially could help to prevent suicide, depression, eating disorders and substance use problems?

Dr. Burns concluded that electronic mental health services did not require new workforces or new buildings and, therefore, could cheaply meet huge demands for support.

Mental Healthy would like to add a word of caution.  Whilst there are many great resources available to everyone online there are also some very dubious sites and sometimes there can also be dubious advice. 

Interested in cutting edge research and new practice in the field of young people, technology and wellbeing? Visit 




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