Mental health for young people is to be targeted on social media in 'language they understand'

PUBLISHED: 11:49 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:49 27 March 2019

Sion James talks about health for young people during a meeting at Peterborough City Council. Picture: ROBERT ALEXANDER

Sion James talks about health for young people during a meeting at Peterborough City Council. Picture: ROBERT ALEXANDER

Archant

Health officials will be using social media to get the message across to young people that their health matters ,including the importance of looking after mental health.

The Healthy Peterborough campaign, which includes promotion of children’s health and wellbeing, fears awareness messages getting lost as young peope speak a ‘different language’.

Sion James, senior health improvement specialist “We are concerned that the city’s Public Health Teams are not responding to young people because they ‘speak’ a different language today through social media.”

“We need to let young people know that their health issues are just as important as those of adults, especially when it comes to mental health.

“Social media is something that they understand – it is almost like a new language through which they communicate – so we will have to look into ways of adopting that ‘language’ to reach them.”

Mr James was speaking at a meeting of Peterborough City Council health scrutiny committee, where campaigns are outlined and budgets assigned, often twelve months in advance.

Mr James said: “With the support of the council we’ve had some noticeable successes of late, including the ‘Fizz Free February’ campaign aimed at lowering children’s sugar intake and improving their dental hygiene.

“Since 2016 Healthy Peterborough has doubled its number of followers on Twitter, increased by 26 per cent its Facebook followers, and on its website published 13 key themes over 194 pages, almost double when we started.

“Healthy Peterborough is reaching an average of 122,000 views online each year, and while these figures show a positive growth in digital communication, there is an opportunity to improve our social media analytics to enable a richer understanding of how our followers and target audience behave.”

Healthy Peterborough runs on a budget of just £10,000 for 2018/19, much reduced from £50,000 in the previous year.

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