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Social media is driving young people to loneliness and despair

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Social media is fuelling isolation among youngsters, new research by the Mental Health Foundation has revealed

Almost a third of youngsters believe social media is driving them towards isolation.

The Mental Health Foundation has warned that loneliness is creating mental health problems among tens of thousands of young people across Scotland.

New research by the charity has found that more than half of 18-24 year olds experience depression when they feel lonely, with 42% saying this leads to anxiety. Two thirds questioned (67%) said their mental health worsens as a result of feeling lonely.

The study shows that technology, including social media, could be exacerbating social isolation. 82% of young people said that spending time face to face with others improves their mental health. In contrast, 30% felt that technology, such as social media, is causing them to feel lonely as it has replaced face-to-face contact.

With 2018 being Scotland's Year of Young People, the Mental Health Foundation is warning that too many young adults are struggling with problems and that a mental health storm is imminent unless mental health is placed at the heart of the school curriculum.

Isabella Goldie, director of development and delivery at the charity, said: "We need to acknowledge the important role that both parents and teachers play in helping young people to develop good relationship building skills and do more to support adults under stress, ensuring that they are equipped to support our young people and that their own stress doesn't leak onto those in their charge.

“This is vital as parental mental health has a direct impact on young people's mental health.

"If the Scottish Government is serious about making 2018 the Year of Young People then it must place health and wellbeing at the heart of the school curriculum - not at the sidelines as it currently is. It needs to invest in school-based counselling and give teachers the training they need to create inclusive environments and explore mental health."