'A lot of young people struggle': Mental health problems on the rise in Northampton due to social media, charity says

4789 support sessions were provided to young people between 12-25 in 2016.
4789 support sessions were provided to young people between 12-25 in 2016.

A charity in Northampton has seen a sharp rise in demand for counselling and support services in the past year as a result of social media and expectations on young people.

The Lowdown in Northampton has said they have provided 4,789 support sessions to young people aged between 12-25 in 2016.

Most of the support sessions have been down to social media, including maintaining a 'SnapChat streak', how they look when pictured on Instagram and the constant expectation of answering messages.

Support services manager, Theresa Donaghue said: “The demand is ever-rising as young people struggle to cope with a number of mental health issues.

“We see so many young people who have very difficult lives and struggle with all sorts of issues.

"A lot of young people struggle with anxiety and depression, and there are a lot of teenagers and young adults who self-harm. A lot of young people struggle.”

Last year, the Lowdown also saw 2,456 young people for sexual health drop-in sessions, which include chlamydia screening and contraception advice - 85 support group sessions for the LGBTQ youth of the town were also held

Chief executive Imti Farookhi said there was a huge need for the charity to grow its services to meet the demand for services to young people.

“The need for Lowdown’s core counselling services has never been greater and we have been working hard to increase our capacity.

"The Lowdown has been in Northampton since 1989 and we are building on that very firm foundation to make sure there is always somewhere safe and confidential for young people who are struggling to come and get the support they need.”

Chairman of the trustees Dr John Toby added: “There is nothing more important than the wellbeing and mental health of our young people in Northampton and we are proud of the services the Lowdown is able to offer.

"Our aim is to continue and extend those services to meet the growing needs of our young people.”