Safer Internet Day

To mark Safer Internet Day (10th February), The Talking Taboos Foundation has joined forces with YoungMinds, the UK’s leading young people’s mental health and wellbeing charity, to urge teenagers and young people across the country to look for signs online that a friend is unhappy.

Given the amount of young people experiencing mental health problems, YoungMinds in partnership with the Talking Taboos Foundation want to encourage young people to look out for each other by paying attention to what their friends are saying on social media channels.

To launch the campaign, a short engaging film has been created which encourages young people to look out for signs that their friends might be feeling overwhelmed.

2CV, part of Cello’s Signal Group, carried out qualitative research with experts, teenagers and young people and found that the signs of low mood were complex and multi-faceted, but that close friends were more likely to identify changes in a friend’s mood via posts in social channels.

One in four adults will develop some sort of mental health problem at some point in their lives. Half of all adults with mental health problems develop them before they’re 15 and 75 per cent by 18.

Working closely with the target audience revealed that it is only real or close friends who are able to spot the signs of distress or unease in their friends. The ‘mates matter’ campaign aims to encourage young people to look out for these signs and support their friends. This could be through picking up the phone or sending a message.

Following on from a successful partnership and project in 2012 which looked at self-harm, the two organisations have come together again to encourage young people to look out for their friends.

Lucie Russell, Director of Media and Campaigns at YoungMinds said: “There is so much noise on social media that it’s often really hard to gage how a friend is really feeling. With all the pressure for young people to present themselves online as having the time of their lives and surrounded by hundreds of virtual friends it’s not easy to reach out if you need support.

“We are therefore delighted to be working with the Talking Taboos Foundation to launch this campaign to highlight how important it is for mates to look out for each other online.

“As a partner organisation of Safer Internet Day this campaign completely resonates with keeping safe and creating a positive, supportive experience online so we are really pleased to be launching it on Safer Internet Day 2015.”

Vincent Nolan, Signal Research & Planning Group Chairman said: “We are delighted to be working with YoungMinds again to publicise our new ‘mates matter’ campaign after a successful joint programme in 2012.

“Close friends will notice the warning signs in their friends and we want them to understand these signs and act on that intuition. Social Media is a great medium for friends to communicate, but can also be used to look out for warning signs that people are in distress. This campaign is really a celebration of friendship and how friends on social channels can help with more serious issues, as well as have fun.”

“Much of the reporting around social media use, particularly among young people, has focussed on its negative impact. While there are well documented issues, social media also provides a valuable platform for staying in touch with friends and supporting them, particularly when they are not physically present.”