Published by / Citation
Royal Society for Public Health
Original Language


United Kingdom
social media

#StatusofMind: Social Media and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing


  • 91% of 16-24 year olds use the internet for social networking
  • Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol
  • Rates of anxiety and depression in young people have risen 70% in the past 25 years
  • Social media use is linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep
  • Cyber bullying is a growing problem with 7 in 10 young people saying they have experienced it
  • Social media can improve young people’s access to other people’s experiences of health and expert health information
  • Those who use social media report being more emotionally supported through their contacts



  • Introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media
  • Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated
  • NHS England to apply the Information Standard Principles to health information published via social media
  • Safe social media use to be taught during PSHE education in schools
  • Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts, and discreetly signpost to support
  • Youth-workers and other professionals who engage with young people to have a digital (including social) media component in their training
  • More research to be carried out into the effects of social media on young people’s mental health

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