RSPH: statutory PSHE to promote safe social media use & mental health

May 19, 2017 5:00:00 AM
The PSHE Association welcomes today’s #StatusOfMind report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Young Health Movement (YHM) on the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s mental health, which includes statutory personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education amongst its key recommendations.

Our education system must ‘equip our young people with tools to navigate the digital world in a way that protects their mental health and emotional wellbeing’ according to the report, which recognises PSHE education’s key role in promoting safe use of social media, including in relation to cyber bullying, social media addiction, body image and social media’s overall impact on mental health.  The RSPH is calling for action from both the government and social media companies to mitigate potential negative sides of social media use, whilst promoting the positives that these platforms can offer to young people.

#StatusOfMind echoes the recent joint Education and Health Committee report – which highlighted poor mental health in young people and contributory factors such as social media use, while recommending statutory PSHE as part of a solution.

PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:
“The RSPH is absolutely right to recommend statutory PSHE so that young people develop the knowledge and skills they need to help protect their mental health and safely navigate a digital world of complex relationships, risks, pressures but also possibilities.

Society evolves rapidly and technology will keep changing, but the fundamental skills and attributes we need to thrive in society are still the same. PSHE education is dedicated to developing these skills and attributes, though without parity with other subjects too many pupils miss out, making the upcoming Government consultation on the status of PSHE so important.”

The PSHE Association Annual Conference events in Leeds (22 June) and London (29 June) will have a range of keynotes and workshops focused on how PSHE education can support pupils in a changing world, from fostering mental health to developing media literacy and digital resilience while ensuring effective relationships and sex education (RSE) is at the heart of a broad PSHE programme. Find more information on our conference page, and if interested in attending please book soon to secure your place on these popular events.