Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Letters Child and adolescent wellbeing during covid-19 pandemic

Consider internet use when assessing young people’s mental health

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2324 (Published 24 September 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2324

Rapid Response:

Re: Consider internet use when assessing young people’s mental health

Dear Editor

Dr Sornarajah is correct that it is helpful to have an understanding of how a young person (or anybody for that matter) is using the internet and how it might be affecting their mental health. It is, however, worth bearing in mind that for many people the internet - including social media - acts as a resource that can have a positive value. So a full discussion also involves eliciting perceived benefits and exploring what the individual makes of the different contents they find online. Rather than seeing internet use solely as a source of toxic exposure to harmful content, the exchange then becomes more likely to be therapeutic - encouraging active and critical engagement with content.

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 October 2021
Allan House
Emeritus professor of liaison psychiatry
University of Leeds
Leeds, UK