Social media plays a major

Youth Focus Clinical Services manager and psychologist Chris Harris likens negotiating
Youth Focus Clinical Services manager and psychologist Chris Harris likens negotiating

Clinical Services manager at Youth Focus psychologist Chris Harris said it was during these life transition times that feelings of sadness or stress could be amplified to lead to depression or anxiety.

Youth Focus, based in Burswood, works on supporting young people with mental health related issues.

‘Times of transition are when we are most vulnerable and one of the biggest is when we move from childhood to adolescence,’ he said.

He said a major factor in mental health issues was the role of social media in young people’s lives.

‘They (social networking sites) have both positive and negative effect and we need to look at how we manage these,’ he said.

‘They can be supportive but we also know they can be detrimental.’

He said while social networking was a great way for young people to connect to the world, they can have trouble finding a space away from it.

‘When they step through their front door, they are not leaving their school life behind for the day, which means things like bullying can follow them home,’ Mr Harris said.

Youth Focus works to reduce the impact of feelings that lead to anxiety or depression by working with the young person and also his her family and teachers.

‘How do we change school culture, so young people will speak up if they have concerns and how do we ensure they are listened to?’ he said.

Mr Harris said mental health issues were a community problem.

‘It is something the whole community needs to address together.’