'Peeple' the Human Rating App is Mental Health Disaster Waiting To Happen...


It is less than a week until World Mental Health Day (10th October 2015). During the preparations to WMH Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in May I spend some time reflecting upon the progress we have made in mental health since the last national awareness event. This year I am not struggling for material.

The last 6 months have been hard, my work has seen me encounter many unaddressed psychosis, deep depressions, and several tragic instances of suicide amongst young people. At the same time theer have been some encouragements: There is more press about mental health than ever. The Mind Media Awards show what a seed change has taken place in the treatment of mental health issues in film and TV. Politicians of all flavors are discussing the impact of and provision for mental health. This month even saw the appointment of a Shadow Mental Health Minister in Luciana Berger.

Yet all of this seems like such a drop in the ocean compared to what can only be described a crisis within mental health in the UK. The headlines of recent months have identified the huge reduction in mental health spending, particularly evident in the number of specialist beds available. We have also seen the disturbingly small investment being made in youth mental health (CAMHS) paralleled with a dramatic rise in the instanced of mental ill health amongst children and young people: GirlguidingUK surveyed 1,574 girls, 62 per cent of those aged 11 to 21 said they knew someone with a mental health problem. 46 per cent of 17 to 21 years old girls said they had had mental health issues themselves.

The reality is that our world is changing more quickly than policy makers and influencers can keep pace with. They talk dismissively of new media as if it is a Sinclair C5 of yesteryear, here today and gone tomorrow. Instead we have new (and older) generations living in a comparison driven, expectation laden online world that most of us would have thought a fantasy in 1985. The average teen now spends 27 hours a week online.

Before you think this is some sort of anti-internet rant stay with me. Most of the work of mindandsoul.info is online and I am fully aware of how the internet has, and continues to help, sufferers of all manner of mental health problems. But I am trying to be realistic about how many issues it also propagates.

The fact that November sees the launch of ‘Peeple’ an app, (that rates human beings) did not pass me by. ‘Peeple’ will enable anyone to give you a rating 1-5, not for what you have done, but for who you are! More than that, others can set up an account on your behalf and then rate you without your permission. You will not be able to remove negative comments about yourself unless they breach certain terms and conditions. Honestly, we think we have problems with mental health in our young people at the moment, if this sort of thing gats traction I fear we haven’t seen anything yet.

So WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2015…here we come. Yes, you are fully justified, needed and valued. If you want to get involved please come to The Big Mental Health Day 2015 on October 10th in London. Click here to book.
Will Van Der Hart, 04/10/2015
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