Young people, technology, and mental health

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5 May 2017

Event Type:

Ashling Hotel Dublin
8 Parkgate St, Arran Quay
Dublin 8

Technology and Social Media are central to the lives of young people today but what is the impact on mental health? This conference will bring together varying perspectives regarding the challenges and the benefits of technology for young people’s mental health. This one-day conference incorporates issues such as cyberbullying, education for professionals on technology and social media, and innovations in engaging young people through technology.

Speaker’s line-up

Dr Mark Smyth is a Senior Clinical Psychologist with Dublin North City & County Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service in Swords. He has spent much of his career working with young people in the care of the state and who have come to the attention of the juvenile justice system. Mark currently specialises in working with adolescents with mental health difficulties, particularly those who struggle with anxiety, self-harm and suicidal thoughts and urges.

Mark will focus on how, for digital natives, online and offline, identities are two sides of the same coin. Identity formation for digital natives is a high speed journey through the perceived utopia of photo shopped profile pics, “disappearing” messages, virtual friends and endless temptations. The search for affirmation and validation online is a tightrope walk which can bring instant adoration or viral infamy.  Increasingly, personal online disclosures of mental health difficulties aim to reduce stigma and increase help seeking, but in an increasingly crowded market place, how far do you have to go to be heard? For many youth these are risks worth taking.

Mark will discuss the challenge for professionals in balancing understanding and validating the reality of digital identify formation while also supporting young people to resist the urge for instant gratification.

Colman Noctor is a Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Child Psychotherapist in St. Patrick's Mental Health Services and an Assistant Professor in Trinity College Dublin. Colman has a special interest in the impact of technology on children's wellbeing and is the bestselling author of Cop On, a parenting book for a technological age. Colman has recently completed his Doctoral Research in DCU where he explored the area of Social Media and Mental Health.

The technological evolution is the greatest social experiment of our time. Never before have we introduced something so pervasive into our lives without any knowledge of the outcome.

This presentation will ask questions of the impact of technology on family life, work life, relationships and psychological wellbeing. The focus be on the potential negative impact of technology on children's development of resilience and wellbeing. It will explore relationships with technology; examine ways that mental health practitioners, teachers and parents have a role in shaping healthy relationships with technology and how to respond to unhealthy relationships with technology.

Professor Mona O ‘Moore is a Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin and Adjunct Professor to the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. She is also the Founding Director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, formerly of Trinity College but now based within the Institute of Education, DCU. She has written widely on the subject of bullying, the most recent being, Understanding Cyberbullying: A Guide for Parents and Teachers.

Mona's presentation aims to provide an understanding of cyberbullying, its prevalence and the many forms it takes. It will explore also the characteristics and motives of children and adolescents who are involved in cyberbullying, the serious effects it has, and the practical steps which school, teachers, professionals, parents and young people can take to prevent and respond effectively to cyberbullying.

Niamh Bruce was the Manager and Director of Programmes for the Sanctuary, a meditation and mindfulness centre in Dublin for over 10 years. With a strong interest and role in Mindfulness and Young People, Niamh has co-developed the Sanctuary Warrior Programme for young people who are finding the journey to maturity and social integration challenging. Also co-developed and delivers the M2M training for the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI).

Niamh has developed a Mindful Approach to Technology and her presentation will focus on MAT (Mindful Approach to Technology). What it is and exploring the journey with young people and those who work with them. At the heart of MAT is choice and how mindfulness can create a space for you to choose your use of technology.

Dr Blánaid Gavin ​is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, has worked for over 10 years with children who have experienced mental health difficulties. Dr Gavin has extensive training in a number of therapeutic interventions and as a Clinical Lecturer in UCD School of Medicine, she is responsible for running CBT training courses. Dr Gavin is committed to improving services for young people with mental health difficulties and co-founded the first national special interest group in Youth Mental Health which led to the development of the widely-endorsed International Declaration of Youth Mental Health.

Gavin is actively involved in research on an ongoing basis and has published widely in national and international peer reviewed journals. Dr Gavin has led training developments to heighten awareness of children’s mental health and has co-written the national guidelines for the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) on Children’s Mental Health in addition to the national ICGP Psychosis guidelines. Her new book Mental Health in Children and Adolescents: A Guide for GPs is being published this year. Working with the Department of Education, Dr. Gavin developed training for teachers in supporting children with emotional and behavioural challenges in the classroom, and a current focus of her work is on the development of technological interventions for children with ADHD.

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St Saviour's House
39-41 Union Street
London SE1 1SD, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7403 7458
email: events@acamh.org

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