WHO Releases Report on Developmentally Appropriate Online Mental Health Content for Young People


Online Mental Health Content

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a report detailing the outcomes of a virtual roundtable meeting held on October 4, 2023. The meeting aimed to discuss guiding principles for the development of online mental health content tailored to the needs of young people.

Twenty-two global health experts participated in the discussions, representing diverse backgrounds in digital media, child and adolescent mental health, and suicide prevention.

The experts, hailing from 16 different countries, engaged in dialogue centered around exploring effective strategies for promoting young people’s well-being and mental health through online platforms.

Before the meeting, WHO conducted a rapid review to examine existing literature and gather perspectives from young people through focus group discussions. This review aimed to identify evidence-based approaches and understand the preferences of young individuals regarding online mental health content.

The meeting primarily focused on young people aged 13-17 years due to limited research on audiences under 13 years. While no formal WHO guidelines were established during the meeting, participants proposed actionable points aimed at benefiting young people and guiding future work in this area.

Guiding Principles for Developmentally Appropriate Online Mental Health Content

The report identified 10 guiding principles for developmentally appropriate online mental health content. These principles encompassed areas such as emotional relevance, practical advice, relatable language, diversity and inclusivity, and alignment with human rights standards.

Experts discussed key considerations for implementing these principles during the roundtable meeting.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Several key takeaways emerged from the meeting discussions. Participants highlighted the importance of recognizing the diverse neurocognitive and developmental profiles of children and adolescents. They emphasized the need for regularly adapting guiding principles to align with the evolving digital landscape and the specific needs of young people.

Furthermore, participants underscored the significance of integrating online mental health content with offline support services and ensuring that content promotes help-seeking behavior while avoiding narratives that may inadvertently cause harm or contribute to stigma.

Despite the valuable insights gained from the meeting, participants acknowledged significant challenges in establishing universally applicable principles. Issues such as cultural norms, digital inequity, data privacy concerns, and the lack of evidence from low-income settings were cited as notable obstacles.

Recognizing the need for further collaboration and research, WHO emphasized that the insights from the meeting represent an initial step in informing approaches to support young people’s mental health online.

Future efforts may involve additional research, validation mechanisms for content, identification of exemplary practices, and engagement with multiple stakeholder groups.

Overall, the report highlights the importance of developing developmentally-appropriate online mental health content for young people and underscores the ongoing commitment to improving mental health support through digital platforms.

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

New Study Reveals Link Between Depression, Anorexia, and Gut Microbiota

Online Mental Health Content

A recent study published in BMC Psychiatry sheds light on a potential connection between major depressive disorder (MDD), anorexia, and gut microbiota. Led by researchers at the First Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, the study suggests that individuals with both depression and anorexia exhibit distinct patterns in their gut bacteria, particularly involving the presence of a specific bacterium called Blautia.

Depression, characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in daily activities, affects millions worldwide and is often accompanied by a high risk of suicide. Anorexia, marked by reduced appetite and distorted body image, commonly co-occurs with depression, complicating treatment efforts.

Gut Bacteria’s Role in Depression and Anorexia

Up Next

Anxiety Alleviation: Dietitians Recommend 4 Drinks to Lower Anxiety

Online Mental Health Content

In a world where stress and anxiety are prevalent, with up to 19% of U.S. adults experiencing prolonged anxiety, the quest for effective coping mechanisms continues.

While traditional treatments like medication and therapy remain pillars of support, emerging research suggests that dietary choices, including hydration, might play a significant role in managing anxiety levels.

Drinks to Lower Anxiety You Must Know About

Here, we delve into the top drinks to lower anxiety recommended by dietitians –

1. Chamomile Tea: Renowned for its calming properties, chamomile tea contains apigenin, a flavonoid compound known for its anti-anxiety effects. Wan Na Chan, M.P.H., RD,

Up Next

Managing Autoimmune Disorders Through Yoga: Effective Practices to Consider

Online Mental Health Content

In recent years, the intersection between holistic practices like yoga and conventional medicine has garnered significant attention, particularly in the realm of managing autoimmune disorders.

A burgeoning body of research suggests that incorporating yoga into treatment plans can offer tangible benefits for individuals grappling with autoimmune conditions. From rheumatoid arthritis to lupus, yoga’s gentle yet powerful techniques hold promise in alleviating symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

Yoga, with its emphasis on mindful movement, breathwork, and relaxation, provides a multifaceted approach to managing autoimmune disorders. The practice not only addresses physical symptoms but also targets the underlying stress and inflammation that often exacerbate these conditions.

Up Next

Pregnancy Linked to Accelerated Aging Process in Women, Study Finds

Online Mental Health Content

In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers shed light on a compelling connection between pregnancy and the aging process in women.

The study, led by Calen Ryan, an associate research scientist at the Columbia University Ageing Center, suggests that women who have experienced pregnancy may exhibit more signs of biological aging compared to those who haven’t. Intriguingly, the research also indicates that the aging process may accelerate with multiple pregnancies.

Ryan commented on the findings, stating, “We’re discovering that pregnancy leaves lasting effects on the body. While not all are negative, it appears to heighten the risk of certain diseases and overall mortality.”


Up Next

Unlocking Hoarding Disorder: Understanding, Support, and Effective Solutions

Online Mental Health Content

Hoarding disorder, a mental health condition characterized by persistent difficulty in parting with possessions and accumulating excessive clutter, affects millions of individuals worldwide. Here’s what you need to know about this often misunderstood disorder and how to support those who struggle with it.

Defining Hoarding Disorder:

Hoarding disorder is a complex mental health condition marked by a compulsive urge to accumulate possessions, leading to overwhelming clutter and difficulty discarding items.

According to experts like Brad Schmidt and Gregory Chasson, individuals with hoarding disorder often experience distress at the thought of parting with their belongings and may also have a strong desire to acquire new items.

Up Next

Understanding Cherophobia: Signs, Causes, and Coping Strategies

Online Mental Health Content

Cherophobia, a condition characterized by an aversion to happiness, has garnered attention for its impact on mental well-being.

Derived from the Greek word “Chairo,” meaning “I rejoice,” cherophobia manifests as an irrational fear of experiencing joy. Therapist Carolyn Rubenstein explains that this fear often stems from anxious thoughts associated with past trauma or childhood experiences linking happiness to negative outcomes.

Signs of Cherophobia

Recognizing the signs of cherophobia is crucial for identifying individuals who may be struggling with this condition:

Feelings of Guilt and Unworthiness: Those with cherophobia experience guilt and unwor

Up Next

Stress Can Lead to Cortisol Belly: Here’s How to Fix It

Online Mental Health Content

Stress can affect our lives in many ways, from our mental health to our relationships, but it can also lead to physical symptoms such as ‘cortisol belly’. Cortisol belly, named after the stress hormone, has been widely discussed on social platforms such as TikTok, with users and experts explaining how it occurs, and theorizing what could be done about it.

While you may not have heard of the term ‘cortisol belly’ before, you might have heard of stubborn belly fat or stress belly, which are essentially the same thing. This is because it refers to the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue around the stomach, which has been linked to prolonged exposure to elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

What Is Cortisol Belly?

According to dietitian