Social Media and Health.

I use social media and the web in general extensively. However just recently, have become concerned with the way it may be affecting citizens behaviour.

Facebook and Twitter in my experience are good ways of spreading the word about our community groups activities with a wide audience.

My personal usage is generally about positive things in my life or stories and experiences to help others.

There are a number of links to mental health help sites at the foot of this post.

The rise of social media has meant that we as a global population are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time.
However, our reliance on social media can have a detrimental effect on our mental health. With the average Brit checking their phone as much 28 times a day.
While social media platforms can have their benefits. Using them too frequently can make you feel increasingly unhappy and isolated in the long run.

Source: Six ways social media negatively affects your mental health | The Independent

Negative effects of social media.

A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found people who spend the night checking social media are more likely to suffer from mood problems such as neuroticism and bipolar disorder. Also rating themselves as less happy and more lonely.

Analysing data from 91,000 middle-aged people, researchers found those with “poor sleep hygiene”. Such as checking Facebook late at night.

Were 6% more likely to suffer from depression. 11% more likely to have bipolar. And scored their own happiness as 9% lower than those who had good sleep hygiene.

To counter this, Professor Daniel Smith, from the University of Glasgow, who led the research. Suggested a 10pm cut-off point for mobile use would give the average adult time to wind down before switching off the lights.

His recommendation echoes advice from England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, who warned. “There is increasing public and policy concern about the impact of computer/smartphone screen use, and ‘blue light’, upon human health”.

Most studies examining social media and mental health “aren’t able to determine whether spending more time on social media leads to depression or anxiety. Or if depressed or anxious young people spend more time on social media”. They say “The pathways to mental illness are many and varied, and to suggest mental health problems can be attributed to social media alone. Would be an oversimplification.”

It is also important to note that social media does not affect all people equally, the researchers add, as some individuals may be more susceptible to the negative aspects than others.

Positive effects.

A University of Missouri study that found a link between Facebook use and depression also found that people who use the platform primarily to connect with others do not experience the negative effects. “In fact, when not triggering feelings of envy, the study shows, Facebook could be a good resource and have positive effects on well-being,” Psychology Today reports.

There is also compelling evidence that social media can benefit people already dealing with mental health issues. By helping them build online communities that provide a source of emotional support.

The UK Mental Health Foundation says it is “undeniable” that online technologies can be used to reach the most vulnerable in society, as well as helping to reduce the stigma attached to seeking treatment.

Social media is “invaluable for people with health conditions to know that they are not alone, that there are other people who have gone through this and got better”. Says Professor John Powell, a public health researcher at Oxford University. Who has researched how social media can be used to support people with chronic illnesses.

Helpful Sites

Start of 2019 my first blog post this year

The start of this year has been really amazing already. Below are just some of the things that I have done within the past Two weeks. These are over and above our normal weekly activities at The Old Library. Plus attending a funeral.

Start of the ICAN centres.

mental health

As part of my involvement with the LIT (Local Implementation Team) for mental health. I am very pleased that Artisans Collective will be hosting an ICAN volunteer information recruitment session on the 22nd January 2019. More event information here.

The ICAN CENTRES are based at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Maelor and support the Emergency Departments at each hospital. They will be offering a listening ear to patients who come to the ED. But don’t have a physical injury or a medical reason for seeking help. On a nightly basis many people will arrive at the ED Departments via Ambulance, the Police. In a car or taxi or on foot simply because the lights are on and they have nowhere else to turn for help.

The ICAN Centres are open every night of the week between 7am and 2am. They are looking for Session Supervisors and also Volunteers to join our teams across the three hospitals of North Wales.

We are inviting applications to become part of the ICAN Centre teams from people from all walks of life. From people who are already working within the Third Sector supporting organisations. To dedicated individuals who could offer their time, to students and Health Board Robins. Or retired professionals who want to be part of this huge and innovative new venture.

Full training and induction will be provided. Additionally you will be required to supply a current DBS Certificate. Alternatively be happy for us to apply for a DBS Certificate on your behalf. The Supervisor Session staff will be paid on an hourly range basis. Volunteers will be paid their expenses (up to 15 miles each way from the sites).

For more information please contact Meinir Evans, Project Coordinator or contact your local CVC Office

Women’s Institute Talk

Friday 11th January, it was a pleasure to give a talk to about 80 ladies at Dyserth WI all about what we get involved with. Mostly about Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community and ICAN.

It felt like I was amongst friends and had some great feedback. Also there was cake.

Making a start with Ageing Well in Denbighshire.

I am delighted to have been invited to join the Ageing Well in Denbighshire (AWD) Group.

The group comprises various organisations and individuals who come together to consider wellbeing of our citizens in Denbighshire. Whilst the Ageing Well in Denbighshire forum is predominantly about Older People’s issues. It seeks to develop and promote its activities, intergenerationally. Across all age groups in Denbighshire.

The meetings will encourage members to share information and exchange best practice relating to recent. Current and suggested future activity. Particularly in terms of influencing and promoting, health, social care and wellbeing.

Link to the plan here.

Alzheimer’s Society filming and an invitation to present at their National Conference

start of filming

Proud to have filmed with Jo from Alzheimer’s Society Cymru on Wednesday morning 16th at  Artisans Collective a Community Hub at the Old Library Prestatyn where Peter and Steve  talked about our day to day activities.

Further more on March 7th I will be presenting at the National conference in Cardiff after an early morning start. Talking about all we do in Prestatyn and North Wales to help promote awareness of Dementia Friends and community engagement.

Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community

Myself and Steve who is One of our champions were volunteering at the Morfa Gateway Project on Thursday 17th. When we received a message telling us about a chap in distress at a local business. Where staff have recently become Dementia Friends.

I went to offer help and support and thankfully there was a good resolution.

We did not realise that a member of the public had been observing the proceedings. Furthermore they have written a wonderful message to the manager of the establishment, part of which we have included below.

Part of what the member of the public wrote.

We will be holding a general meeting of Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community soon. Everybody will be welcome to attend and can sign up to become a Dementia Friend or additionally become part of our steering group.

Everybody can make a difference in our community and to the wellbeing of its citizens.

Community engagement/planning meeting.

We had a great meeting on Thursday 17th at Artisans Collective a Community Hub at the Old Library Prestatyn  including representatives from Prestatyn Town Council, Denbighshire County Council,  Prestatyn Branch. The Royal British Legion.  Additionally Paul and Craig from Sound Radio WalesHGC Dinbych Arfordirol ac Abergele / NWP Denbighshire Coastal and Abergele and others. Organised and all pulled together by our good friend David Evans from Bangor University.

Composting Workshop arranged close to the start of spring.

The start of events at Mens Shed Prestatyn

Free Adult learning 

We have helped organise a free composting workshop at Men’s Shed Prestatyn. So please come along to our one day course on how to make your own compost from your household waste.

Please dress appropriately for hands on outside learning. Also please bring your own packed lunch. 

The Benefit of making a start at Composting

Approximately 1/3 of your domestic waste can be composted at home, therefore saving energy and resources and benefiting your garden and your pocket.

Please book your space

Space is limited so please contact Mair Davies ASAP on 07969891683 .

Or email to book your place or alternatively find out more about the course.


Mens Shed is on Fern Avenue, Prestatyn. The closest car parking is available on Fern Avenue car Park. It’s then only a very short walk to the Men’s Shed Building on Fern Avenue.

Morfa Gateway and Long Forest Project

On a cold and damp day at the start of the year. Our volunteers joined others from Hedgehog Help PrestatynPrestatyn & District Environment AssociationMorfa Gateway ProjectDyserth WI. Plus lots of other citizens including Anton, the mayor of Prestatyn. Working alongside Denbighshire Countryside Service planting hedges as part of the long forest project on Coed Y Morfa .

Some of the volunteers and countryside services rangers at the first planting at the start of 2019

The First App completed.

Pleased that we have now completed the start of many  Morfa Gateway Project Nature for Health Trail apps at The Coed Y Morfa Community Woodland.

This is a very simple 1Km accessible flat terrain walk ideal for somebody just getting back or making a start into exercise. The start is from the car park at Morfa Gateway. Also the walk finishes in the same place.

Based around the existing trim trail. We are using smartphone GPS technology to notify the app user of their current location. Furthermore the completion level.

Future bounds will have much more detailed information and will be extended to other areas of our locality.

Grow Wild and Eden community.

On Friday 18th Steve and myself were in Bangor giving a presentation for Wales Eden Communities and Grow Wild about the 5 ways to wellbeing.

We were first up talking about one of the topics “connected”. Which was very appropriate as Aimee’s Friday Art Group met at CookHouse Prestatyn  Also the afternoon Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community session met at Torello Lounge. Talk about connected 🙂

A huge thanks to both establishments for connecting with our community groups.

It is great presenting about connecting within communities. In conclusion we have engaged with over 60 different different organisations locally and nationally as part of our voluntary efforts. Amazingly this is in just the first Two weeks at the start of 2019.

Target can mean different things to different people.

The past week has been full of meetings and events as 2018 draws to a close.  Targets seem to have been talked about so much.  So rather than a new years resolution in 2019. I will be setting a number of targets. Therefore I thought I would look into my understanding of the meaning of target.

Target “An objective or result towards which efforts are directed.”

This is one definition that I consider can be positive or negative. Personally I regard a target as a motivational factor, a thing I want to achieve.

Just recently however I have seen a negative side to the way people go about things to reach targets. Some targets are to me just “tick the box” exercises. Some organisations seem to put things in place to to satisfy a target set by outside bodies.

Rather than putting something in place to actually solve or lessen the core problem which should be the aim in my opinion.

Target “A mark or point at which one fires or aims, especially a round or rectangular board marked with concentric circles used in archery or shooting.”

Something we spoke to Roger of Prestatyn Men’s Shed about as he is a member of the local rifle club. They now cost 10p each apparently. So time to make some recycled ones we thing. 🙂

Target “A person or thing against whom criticism or abuse is directed”

target thank you

Something I know about. This week one of the organisations I volunteer with has been the target of some criticism on social media. 

Personally I have no doubt in what we are trying to achieve as a social movement, with all of our community activities.

Friends have also been recently affected. So a few words of advice.

Dealing with negativity can be exhausting and discouraging. So it is most important to also to remember to take care of yourself.

I am really lucky to have friends who support us. If a rude comment really gets to me, I have trusted friends that allow me to vent and get perspective.

Remember, no matter how “personal” a comment may seem—those hateful words are coming from their insecurities and baggage. You don’t have to let their issues ruin your day.

Be secure in your value, focus on the positives, and let the negatives fade into the background.

Sometimes when you are working hard (I volunteer for upwards of 60 hours a week ) you could lose site of the target.  The criticism may help you refocus on the core topics. For that I thank the critics.

Don’t let trolling put you off using the Internet for communicative purposes. It’s relatively rare to encounter deeply abusive trolls, and it’s easy to block them on most platforms. Don’t stress!

Target “A person, object, or place selected as the aim of an attack.”

Something weird is going on locally. There are a group of youths deliberately destroying peoples Christmas lights, in Prestatyn.

It is good to see that our local police are concentrating their efforts with regards to this.

Something is fundamentally wrong when youths want to destroy the spirit of Christmas for our community.

Particularly for the local children and in addition the hard work and investment of the citizens affected.

I would love to understand what their motivation is behind this?

You can report problems by calling 101.

Or I recommend reporting online to North Wales Police here.

My personal target for the next Two weeks.

Is to complete our list of events at Artisans Collective and Morfa Gateway projects.

My main ambition is to enjoy the festive season with Jayne my wife over Christmas week.

I am thinking of just One more blog post in 2018, hopefully summarising the past year,  aspirations and ambitions for 2019.

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