Hope Gorton discusses mental health in the online world

Hope Gorton discusses mental health in the online world

17th September 2019
Thoughts & Insights

Hope, one of our Digital Account Managers, had the pleasure of attending the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2019. Invited to sit on the “Life and Likes: mental health in the online world” panel, she discussed how the online world impacts our mental health and what we can do to tackle it. For the last 13 years, she has volunteered for The Reporters’ Academy, a not-for-profit media production company, who help young people develop skills such as social media marketing, filming and interviewing. Hope’s involvement with the charity led her to this amazing opportunity, where she talked about her experiences as a social media user and how it has impacted her view on her body image.


Below she explains some key points taken away from the panel discussion. 



On Wednesday 4th September 2019, I was fortunate enough to attend the first day of the NHS Expo 2019. As a member of the panel, I talked about my experiences as a social media user and how it has impacted my view on my body image.



I had the privilege of sharing the stage with, whom I can only describe as some of the best health and digital professionals in the UK. Claire Murdoch – National Mental Health Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement; Dr Radha Modgil – Broadcaster, author and campaigner for physical and mental wellbeing; Guy Parker – Chief Executive, Advertising Standards Agency; and Professor Steve Powis – National Medical Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement.



There were some key points I took away from our panel discussion, which I’d like to share below:



AUTHENTICITY


We’re all responsible, as professionals and users, for what content we put onto our platforms whether presenting ourselves, a brand or a community. Being as authentic as possible is how we humanise and normalise conversations. It also stops young people believing in an idealised way of living, especially with wider conversations around ‘invisible’ conditions, diagnosis or disabilities. Shaping how we portray these online platforms can help us to lose stigmas and prevent negativity.



EARLY INTERVENTION


One of the most discussed topics during the Expo. There is a progress in the adoption of the processes in schools that ensure young people are opening up about their thoughts, feelings and worries. This early intervention allows us to make sure that they are using social media responsibly. We shouldn’t teach young people that social media is bad and they are not supposed to use it in ‘this or that way’. We need to give them the tools to realise what content is harmful and adopt ways of making their experiences more enjoyable and pleasurable.


TRANSITIONS


Another word that was used throughout Expo which I believe is one of the most important. As human beings, not only are we always evolving, but our society is too. As we transition from age to another, many societal pressures come with that, no matter how old we get. Ageing can be a struggle for most and we need to provide support for everyone, at every stage. During my talk, I noted body issues changing over time, it’s not just about being fat or thin anymore. There are much more societal pressures, and with access to numerous platforms, we need to ensure we’re responsible of our messages.



As someone with no professional medical background, my points above and those mentioned in the panel, are based on my own experience. Naturally, I was apprehensive about being part of a panel for an industry I care so much for, but at the same time, I’m not professionally experienced in. On top of that, I couldn’t believe that this was my first NHS Expo and I was a speaker! Fortunately, any nerves or anxiety were soon lifted by those who I met throughout expo (a special shout out to my new friend Dr Radha) who made me feel so comfortable, at ease and ensured that my opinions/thoughts around these topics were valuable as a young person and a marketing professional.



I couldn’t be more grateful to have had the opportunity to talk about subjects that are so close to my heart and be surrounded by some of the most inspirational people I had the honour of meeting. I had the most incredible day at Expo, and I really hope it wasn’t my last!



*all the points above are based on personal opinion and experience


Article by Laura Nuttall

Marketing Manager


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