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Peter Fonagy: Combating a Mental Health Crisis

18 SEP 2018 New York

Clinical psychologist Peter Fonagy OBE discusses the current state of the mental health crisis and how to navigate mental health issues for young people in a modern world.

On the impact of social media on mental health: “Social media is not a replacement for social contact with real human beings, particularly when your kids compare themselves ‘upwardly,’ as it's called. The kids compare themselves with models that are better. So, for example, particularly amongst young women, body image is actually very closely negatively related to screen time – Facebook and Instagram. Interestingly, if you just look at text, your body image is unaffected, but if you look at photographs, your body image actually gets [worse], because you compare yourself upwardly.”

On de-stigmatizing mental health issues: “It’s not just okay to talk about mental health problems, but we take on the responsibility of knowing how to deal with it. To have responsibility for other people’s mental health and to have acquired the skills and competencies that up until now were siloed very much by the mental health professionals. They wouldn’t say that’s what is in their bag of tricks, but actually to disseminate that and for all of us to feel responsible for each other’s mental health.”

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