health improvement

Are social media companies ‘failing young people’ on cyberbullying?

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Social media companies’ failure to tackle cyberbullying is putting the mental health of children and young people at risk, warns an inquiry from MPs and leading children’s charities.

Worryingly for parents, almost two thirds of (63%) of young people surveyed by the enquiry who had been cyberbullied said that they would not tell their parents if they experienced something upsetting online.

So, what can we do about it?

Cyberbullying takes many forms; persistent unwanted messaging, threats, sharing embarrassing photos. The report highlights the addictive nature of social media: one in ten (9%) young people surveyed admitted logging on after midnight every night and one young person said it was “almost like a drug”. Young people giving evidence to the inquiry described feeling judged and inadequate if they didn’t have enough likes or followers.

Young people who are the heaviest users of social media in all its forms are most likely to have low well-being and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Links between self-harm, suicide and cyberbullying have already been established by academics. Currently there are no rules requiring social media to protect young people from cyberbullying.

There are calls for social media companies and government to act, working together to resolve these issues. Parents have a role to play, raising awareness of online dangers and knowing what/who children are connecting with online. Perhaps most importantly knowing there are many ways of getting help to get the cyber bullying to stop. The following links can help;

respectme, support for Services

Childline telephone support for children and young people.

A National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People

Parentline a national, confidential helpline providing advice for parents

Cyberbullying – Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools.

Advice for parents on bullying

Youth Loneliness

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You’re not supposed to feel lonely while you’re young, but the truth is it’s a bigger concern among young people than any other age group.

In recent years youth loneliness and isolation has been increasingly identified as a matter of significant public concern. Research identifies that one in three young people suffer from loneliness (Red Cross, Co-op, Kantar, 2016) and 65% of 16-25 years old reporting feeling loneliness at times and 32% feeling lonely “often” or “all the time” (Majoribanks and Bradley, 2017).

“Loneliness is a recognised problem among the elderly – there are day centres and charities to help them,” says Sam Challis, an information manager at the mental health charity Mind, “but when young people reach 21 they’re too old for youth services.”

But what can young people do to combat loneliness? 

While meditation techniques such as mindfulness and apps such as Headspace are trendy solutions frequently recommended for a range of mental health problems, they’re not necessarily helpful for loneliness, as they actively encourage us to dwell alone on our thoughts. You’re be better off addressing the underlying causes of being lonely first – what’s stopping you going out and seeing people?

Social media can be helpful. Helplines can also reduce loneliness, at least in the short term. One in four men who call the Samaritans mention loneliness or isolation, and Get Connected is a free confidential helpline for young people, where they can seek help with emotional and mental health issues often linked to loneliness. There are also support services on websites such as Mind’s that can remind you you’re not alone. Speak to your employer, value the interactions you have in the workplace. Counselling can be helpful. The BACP website allows you to search for counsellors in your area. “A problem aired is a problem shared and sometimes you need to talk to someone impartial and independent of your friends and family.

If recent research is to be believed, loneliness is killing the elderly and, with an ageing population, we should aim to reduce our isolation before it is too late. “Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting lonelier,” says Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Relate, in a new report. “But much of this rests on laying the foundations to good-quality relationships earlier in life.”

 

 

 

 

Are you a Fearless Femme?

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A new grassroots movement to challenge sexism, reduce mental health stigma, and save the lives of young women across the world has kicked off in Scotland.

Young women are the highest-risk group for mental illness in the UK. Research estimates 46% of young women between 11 and 21 years old have sought out treatment for mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Research has shown that psychological distress amongst young women is linked to the growing pressures that this group faces: pressures to look beautiful and thin in an age of ‘airbrushing’; social media pressures; stress at school and university; and an increase in sexual harassment. Very often, these pressures lead to low self-esteem and body image problems, with evidence suggesting that young girls start to worry about their body image from the age of 11.

Existing magazines targeting young women can compound these problems with picture perfect models gracing every page. Fearless Femme sets about challenging these cultural norms by empowering young women to overcome stress and other mental health challenges through its new online magazine and growing community of ‘rebelles’, as well as its research and campaigns for policy change.

Want to know more? Fearless Femme can be found at https://www.fearlessfemme.co.uk/our-story/

Kindness within a Community: Combating loneliness and building stronger communities

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Carnegie Trust UK have published their second report looking at loneliness and social isolation and the impact of kinder communities. The report finds kindness is a necessary ingredient of successful communities. However there are major factors that get in the way of engaging and encouraging kindness both in individuals and organisations. Read the report here

Mexico City’s bike revolution

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It’s an eerily calm Sunday morning on the city’s Avenida Reforma, an avenue which is grid-locked on weekdays by tens of thousands of cars sitting bumper-to-bumper.

The Reforma’s closure to car traffic on Sundays in 2007 kickstarted the capital’s attempts to make life easier for cyclists. In 2010 a 17km-long bike lane through the city opened.

The car still reigns supreme in this metropolis of 22 million people, with more than four million vehicles clogging the roads every day.

Perhaps the biggest factor has been the launch of the so-called Ecobicis (Eco-bikes) in 2010. Following on from similar schemes operating in London, Paris and Barcelona, Mexico City launched a public bike rentals at 90 different sites. Since then, some 30,000 people have joined and there is a waiting list for new members. The Ecobici system is expected to expand to 75,000 users by the end of 2012, with 4,000 more bicycles made available at new sites.

The scheme is not without it’s critics with some of Mexico City’s drivers spending up to four hours a day on their journeys to work, with three separate rush-hours. Some say cyclists have only made matters worse.

One local radio host Angel Verdugo angered bike users when he called on car drivers to run over the cyclists. He said championing the new breed of cyclists was a form of racism. “They want to be like Europeans,” he says. “They believe they are living in Paris and riding along the Champs-Elysees.”

He subsequently made a public apology.

There’s no doubt that Mexico City is for the most part still a car-orientated city but it is also clear that cycling is in the ascendancy. More cycle ways are planned, and public opinion supporting active travel is growing. A car free city is, however, a long way off.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

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Thinking, talking, and walking are inextricably linked through history. It is only a recent idea that we meet around tables, seated in chairs. We want to help you rediscover and share the value of walking meetings.

Aristotle was said to walk as he taught, founding what we now refer to as Ancient Greece’s Peripatetic School of Philosophy. This name was derived from the colonnade or walkway in the Lyceum in which he taught. The Sophists, philosophers predating Socrates, were wanderers. They travelled place to place on foot delivering talks.

Despite the onslaught of “mobile” technology, people are spending more time sitting at their desk than ever before. The average worker sits about 9.5 hours a day – which is 2 hours more per day than they sleep.

What keeps us tethered to our desks? Our insatiable thirst for increased productivity and efficiency. Ironically, one of the things that makes us most effective is leaving our desks.

It’s well-known that Steve Jobs insisted on walking meetings, and Mark Zuckerberg favors them as well.

 

Here are 7 reasons you want to consider incorporating moving meetings into your culture:

  • Employee Health.
    Walking meetings allow employees to integrate physical activity throughout their workday, which yields improved health, lower health care costs, and a lower number of sick days.
  • Higher Employee Energy
    Movement yields circulation; circulation yields energy. Rather than reach for a biscuit to get a boost of energy, take a walk outside.
  • Inspiration.
    Nature and changes of scenery trigger new neuro-pathways in our brains which yield new ideas, and new solutions to problems.
  • A Flatter Organization.
  • Technology executive Nilofer Merchant shares in her 3-minute TED Talk that when executives and employees walk side-by-side, the hierarchical boundaries are virtually eliminated.
  • Increased Collaboration.
  • Walking meetings aren’t just for a few people. Larger groups can benefit as well. Unlike traditional meetings in a conference room, where attendees take a seat and often don’t move until the meeting is over, mobile meetings give attendees the option of moving freely from one conversation to another.
  • Stronger Personal Connections.
    Walking meetings take the corporate feeling out of meetings. Employees can accomplish the same goals set for a traditional meeting, but they can relate on a much more personal level.
  • Minimized Differences.
    Walking meetings bring everyone together. As companies continue to employee 5 different generations of workers, and as diversity increases in the workforce, walking meetings break down both conscious and unconscious biases and barriers.So next time you’re scheduling a meeting, why not give a walking meeting a go?

What does “wellbeing” mean to you?

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Welcome to the second of Kincardine and Mearns local community plan priorities.

Communities, both place-based and people sharing a common identity or affinity, have a vital contribution to make to health and wellbeing. Community life, social connections, supportive relationships and having a voice in local decisions are all factors that underpin good health, however, inequalities persist and too many people experience the effects of social exclusion or lack social support. Participatory approaches directly address the marginalisation and powerlessness caused by entrenched health inequalities.


The assets within communities, such as the skills and knowledge, social networks, local groups and community organisations, are building blocks for good health. Many people in Kincardine & Mearns already contribute to community life through volunteering, community leadership and activism. Community empowerment occurs when people work together to shape the decisions that influence their lives and health and begin to create a more equitable society. This is not about a DIY approach to health; there are important roles for NHS, local government and their partners in creating safe and supportive places, fostering resilience and enabling individuals and communities to take more control of their health and lives.

Over the next few weeks we will share with you some stories about wellbeing and what it means to a variety of people. Look out for our first blog next week.We hope you enjoy