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Emotional support

Catch22’s young people’s mental health service featured in new Ofcom report on media literacy

A teenage girl wearing casual clothes sits on a bench looking at her phone.

This week, Ofcom have launched a new report on mental health and media literacy. This report was commissioned to explore the innovative practises, projects and initiatives being trialled by organisations across the UK. The Hive, our young people’s mental health service, was featured as a case study of best practise.

Using a goal-setting approach, young people can receive one-to-one support via a worker, as well as access other services such as sexual health and employment support. Part of The Hive’s role is to help young people make good choices and avoid risky behaviour. One of the topics that comes up frequently for young people is the issue of social groups and friendships.

“One of the key things that I have established with young people is loneliness, managing social anxiety and friendships. For the young people using The Hive, friendships and social media are completely connected.”

– Krystal Donaldson, Centre Manager at The Hive

Working closely with the young people, sessions have been set up to discuss and debate how they can build and develop positive and safe friendships and social groups, both online and offline. This includes a Women’s Group which meets specifically to discuss issues that affect women and girls, including the role social media plays in shaping body image, the desire to seek popularity through ‘likes’ and ‘comments and how to manage negative comments or trolls.

“You can’t separate social media from the things we would tend to focus on such as friendships, family and school. Social media and being online is part of everyday life and so to look at these two things in isolation is not helpful.”

– Emma Norman, Director of Young People, Families and Communities at Catch22

“If we tell people to turn [social media] off, they are curious that they might be missing something. Resilience is a hard thing to build. It is something we want to work on with young people.”

– Krystal Donaldson, Centre Manager at The Hive

Helping young people to develop strategies to be resilient, and to take positive decisions about how to navigate friendships and social groups online and offline, is a key aspect of the support provided by Catch22 at The Hive. The ability for people to ‘drop in’ provides an important safety net. The team working there get to know the young people and by maintaining a safe and trusted space, allow young people to seek help and support when they need it.

“Some social media platforms fire different information at you so quickly that you can’t regulate your emotions accordingly, it can make you feel really anxious. But social media can also be a positive way to access wider opportunities and a sense of the bigger world around you. It’s easy to be passive on some platforms, mindlessly scrolling, or just tapping pictures you like without thinking about it too much. I prefer to use social media for direct messaging. Just consume the content that’s relevant to you and what you’re actually interested in. Manage your content so you can filter and take control.”

– Young person who attended the Women’s Group at The Hive