Social media use linked to depression and anxiety in teens

Each generation has something that worries them, a volunteer community presenter for the Black Dog Institute says.

Dale Skinner will present a free seminar – The Black Dog with Dale Skinner – designed for parents to tackle some of the issues facing young people.

Studies show social media is one of the areas that causes the most stress and anxiety among young people.

The internet is also the number one place where young people go to seek help about mental health issues.

“It’s probably not surprising because they are online so much, it’s just a natural progression for them,” Mr Skinner said.

“Online you have the main ones like the Black Dog Institute and headspace, so I would say they would be utilised a lot.”

Mr Skinner was just 10 years old when he started experiencing mental health problems.

Originally diagnosed with depression in his early 20s, it was not until the age of 28 that he was correctly diagnosed with bipolar type 2 disorder.

“I didn’t have the online resources when I was young,” he said.

“Those who go online have a sense of invisibility because they can look and research without anybody knowing.

“A lot of the online tools these days not only educate and help the youth feel like they are not alone, but it’s also there to try and encourage them to seek help.

“It’s a good thing they are actually going somewhere to seek help and hopefully these online resources empower them to go and speak to an adult, a teacher or a parent and who will get them to seek professional help.”

The October 21 event from 6.30pm at Felltimber Community Centre will be a formal presentation where Mr Skinner will share personal stories about his mental health challenges, with a chance for parents to ask questions at the end.

Mr Skinner wants parents to have conversations with their teenagers.

“We hear the comment: ‘I was young once’ and yes we were that age but each generation has things that concern them,” he said.

“It’s about looking at what the studies show us as to what is concerning our youth of today and how they are dealing with their issues or how they are not dealing with their issues.”

A second seminar on Monday, November 18 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm will provide general information for those interested in mental health, or those who wish to support others with their mental health.

Bookings essential. Contact the community centre on (02) 6043 4550. Cost: Free

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