October 1 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 15°C

Five-day forecast

Suicide of Camden schoolgirl prompts further training of psychiatrists in internet safety

Jeremy Hunt. Picture: Suzanne Plunkett Jeremy Hunt. Picture: Suzanne Plunkett

Monday, April 14, 2014
1:00 PM

The suicide of a teenage girl from West Hampstead has prompted the Health Secretary to ask for psychiatrists be given more training in the role online social media can play in the mental health of young people.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Jeremy Hunt said he “recognised the increasing importance of the role of media and in particular social 
media in the lives of young people” and has asked the Royal College of Psychologists to look into making training compulsory.

He has also commissioned a study to be carried out by Bristol University to look into “the use of the internet in relation to suicidal behaviour”.

His calls were in response to a letter sent by a coroner at St Pancras Coroner’s Court who had been vocal in her concerns that mental health clinicians lacked expertise in online social media.

Coroner Mary Hassell’s worries emerged after leading the inquest into the death of Tallulah Wilson, a 15-year-old ballet dancer, who took her own life in October 2012. The schoolgirl was said to have become obsessed with online blogs about suicide and often posted disturbing images of self-harm to her 18,000 followers.

When her mother discovered her 
internet activity, she had Tallulah’s account deleted, with her psychiatrist’s support, because she was concerned about the influence these ‘dangerous’ blogs could have on a young girl.

Dr Andy Wiener, Tallulah’s psychiatrist, revealed during the inquest that he underestimated the impact this would have on her, and speculated about whether she may have felt as if she had been “deleted” as well. He said he had since undergone training and now better understands the role of the internet in young people’s lives.

The Tavistock Centre, in Belsize Lane, where Tallulah’s psychiatrist practices, has also actively worked to understand better the digital lives of young people and to encourage more communication with adults.

It recently hosted an afternoon seminar on the internet and child and adolescent mental health.

The new efforts come as the Royal College of Psychiatrists also revealed it is “very concerned” about the impact of the internet on young people who self-harm and was looking into it as “a matter of urgency”.

A spokesman said: “Within the college’s recently revised curriculum for child and adolescent psychiatrists, a number of training objectives relating to young people’s use of the internet and its relation to mental health have been included.

“These are optional, but the college has opened discussions with the General Medical Council to make them a mandatory component of training. This will be pursued as a matter of urgency.”

The college is also looking into 
developing “positive alternatives” to YouTube and other social media.

Going further, the Department of Health suggested it was up to 
social media users and sites “to point anyone talking about harming themselves to places they can get help”.

A spokesman said: “The government takes the issue of child safety online very seriously and has set out a series of measures to help keep children safe online.

“The new national curriculum will see children aged five to 16 taught about internet safety in a sensible, age-appropriate way. This is a really important step.”

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead and Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead and Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead and Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

   Local advertisers

More news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Ham&High on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Hampstead businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Ham&High, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE