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Digital technology plays a big part in the everyday life of young people. It can have both a positive and a negative effect on them, with online activity being linked to poor mental health in children and adolescents. Despite that, there is very little guidance for mental health professionals on how to tackle this growing issue.

The guidance presented derived from a programme of engagement and research, carried our between 2021 and 2022.

Background: About Us

Scoping survey findings

In 2021 we surveyed mental health practitioners (n = 99) and young people (n = 320) to better understand their views on how to support young people through conversations about their online activities and how these impact on their mental health. (Rifkin-Zybutz, Derges, Biddle et al. publication in prep)


of child and adolescent mental health practitioners surveyed reported having no access to a protocol to guide discussion around online activities with young patients


of practitioners believed exploring online use should form an essential part of risk assessment


of young people surveyed agreed health and social care practitioners should contribute to ensuring the safety of young people online

Background: Infographics

Project collaborators

Lucy Biddle

Population Health Sciences (University of Bristol)

Raphael Rifkin-Zybutz

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Jane Derges

Population Health Sciences (University of Bristol)

Helen Bould

Centre for Academic Mental Health (University of Bristol)

 Felicity Sedgewick

School of Education (University of Bristol)

Nicholas Turner

Population Health Sciences (University of Bristol)

Paul Moran

Centre for Academic Mental Health (University of Bristol)

Rachael Gooberman-Hill

Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (University of Bristol)

Myles-Jay Linton

Population Health Sciences (University of Bristol)

Background: List

Funders and support

This research was funded by an MRC/AHRC/ESRC Adolescence, Mental Health And The Developing Mind Engagement Award. The work is supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, University of Bristol.

Background: Services
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