According to Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, the NHS is looking at an epidemic of mental ill health among children and teenagers as an after effect of social media.
Stevens has said that the NHS urges companies like Google and Facebook to take more responsibility when it comes to pressures on children using social media. He added that there are several online gaming firms and social media platforms that need to have a “duty of care” when it comes to their children users. These are leading to a deluge of cases of abuse, addictive behavior, depression, anxiety, attention deficit, suicidal ideation and other mental illnesses.
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Stevens says that the staggering number of hours a person spends on social media is a concern. People take their phones to the toilet and ironically people in the country spend twice as much time in the toilet than out exercising.
Stevens in his statement says that health services alone cannot tackle this giant of a problem if they are not supported by the social media companies. He said, “We have to ask some pretty searching questions around the role of technology companies, social media and the impact that is having on childhood. This cannot be a conversation that is simply left to the NHS to pick up the pieces for an epidemic of mental health challenge for our young people, induced by many other actors across our economy.”
He called for more strategies to tackle childhood obesity that is associated with unhealthy lifestyles of not exercising enough and eating unhealthy diets. He said that there is a double epidemic of childhood obesity and mental ill health that needs to be prioritized at present.
Stevens was speaking on the future priorities of NHS as it marks its 70th year of service next month. Prime Minister, Theresa May has also pledged a long-term funding for the NHS. She said at the parliament’s health and social care select committee in March, “I want that to be done in conjunction with NHS leaders and provide a multi-year funding settlement consistent with our fiscal rules and balanced approach.” “Ensuring the NHS can cope with demand ahead of the spending review, I would suggest we can’t wait until next Easter. I think in this 70th anniversary year of the NHS’s foundation we need an answer on this,” she said.