03 July 2008

Facebook Youth risk Mental Illness

It's 'expert' opinion like this which sounds the quackery alarm for the kind of society we may be entering, a society in which everyday life has become pathologized and what is 'NORMal' is determined by "mental health professionals."

Among those purported experts would be Dr Himanshu Tyagi, noted in the referenced BBC article as a "leading psychiatrist."

According to Tyagi, youths who spend an overabundance of their time (as deemed by said experts) on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace are at risk for developing 'mental health disorders'.

At the annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Tyagi warned that today's psychiatrists may not be as prepared as they should be to help - ahem, "treat" - young people with Internet-related problems.

"It may be possible," he said, "that young people who have no experience of a world without online societies put less value on their real world identities and can therefore be at risk in their real lives, perhaps more vulnerable to impulsive behaviour or even suicide."

According to the BBC report, Tyagi then "called for more investigation and research into the issue."

Of course he did.

We must be sure that governments prop up the mental health industry as they have the acute care industry, and oh so exceedingly well. Far less enthusiastic are governments to support health promotion or illness prevention.

You'd think this wouldn't be the case, given the public health costs of treatment for illness and funding for research for cures - unless you'd clued into the fact that sickness and disease are big business and the sickness industries have powerful lobbyists.

Fortunately, there are glimmers of conscience and sanity even from within the psych fields.

Psychologist Graham Jones, for example, comments:

For every new generation, the experience they have of the world is a different one.

When the printing press was first invented, I am sure there were crowds of people saying it was a bad thing.

In my experience, the people who tend to be most active on sites such as Facebook or Bebo are those who are most socially active anyway - it is just an extension of what they are already doing.

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