Advice issued on how to find reliable help online to mark World Mental Health Day (10 October)
43 per cent of 18-24* year olds say they have wanted to seek help for themselves, or on a friend’s behalf, after feeling down for a prolonged period. Worryingly, of those who sought help, only half (51 per cent) claim they were able to find it.
The survey, carried out by The Information Standard, reveals that young people wanting more information about depression are more likely to turn to the internet (41per cent) than their GP (25 per cent) parents (12 per cent) or a friend (14 per cent).
This is a concern for The Information Standard, a scheme that certifies reliable and trustworthy sources of information, as nearly eight in 10 young people (78 per cent) say they find it difficult to tell if a website is reliable.
The findings highlight the need to make it easier for young people to find reliable information about depression online, according to Ann Robinson, director of public awareness for The Information Standard.
Ann Robinson said: “Young people’s preference to turn to the internet suggests an unhelpful stigma around asking for help with emotional issues. We are concerned that if vulnerable people are turning to untrustworthy websites, with misleading or incorrect advice, it could have a negative effect on their health. That’s why we urge young people, and indeed anyone using the internet for health advice, to check the website they’re using is trustworthy. The only way to do this is to look for The Information Standard quality mark.”
Dr Louise Newson GP commented: “If you’re feeling down or depressed, my advice is always to go and see your GP. However, if you are going online, make sure you’re doing it safely. All too often I see young people coming to me who have been completely misled by something they’ve read online.”
The Information Standard is a certification scheme that allows health and care organisations, accredited by the scheme, to place a quality mark on their published information, demonstrating to the public that their information can be trusted. For more details about The Information Standard visit www.theinformationstandard.org
Last updated: 03/10/2012