Social media sites should offer mandatory mental health services to provide counselling and support for users, according to a new report from think tank Parliament Street. The new 6,000 word report entitled Mental health and the social media society is written by Danny Bowman, a leading mental health campaigner famous for trying to commit suicide after taking 100 ‘selfies’ a day on social media.
The report graphically details Bowman’s mental health problems, which first surfaced during the use of sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. His obsession with taking the perfect ‘selfie’ image spiralled out of control, to the point where he was talking 200 photos of himself every day. The illness eventually led to an attempted suicide bid.
1.) Social media outlets have a responsibility to combat cyber-bullying online and we recommend there is taskforce set up to police this vast space. This could include help channels, dedicated staff to provide counselling and support for those who feel abused or distressed whilst using social media platforms
2,) There should be mandatory online support for mental health on all social media outlets. It should become mandatory for mental health support services to be part of the DNA of sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
3.) The government should create a Minister for Mental Health. For too long this role has been ignored, underfunded and overlooked. Any government which is series about tackling this terrible challenge should appoint a Member of Parliament who is dedicated to improving the services and care available to those who suffer from mental health problems
Danny Bowman, author of the report comments: “The current provision of services for mental health support in the UK is unacceptable. It’s time for the government to appoint a dedicated Minister for mental health to tackle these challenges immediately.”