Building a completely new and enriching therapy environment with social media.
Online social media has enormous potential to increase youth engagement with mental health care and ameliorate the social isolation that so often accompanies mental ill-health. Commercial social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat certainly have a remarkable capacity to engage young people. Driven by an attention economy that prioritises Likes and advertising hits, these platforms take advantage of known social and cognitive biases to maximise their share of users’ time. The results of this strategy are remarkable; 90% of young people use online social media daily. Unfortunately, accumulating evidence shows that this can have detrimental effects on wellbeing, with high rates of cyberbullying, negative social comparison, and relentless image control.
At Orygen Digital we have contradicted the attention economy to create an engaging online social media system that prioritises wellbeing over attention, and meaningful connection over social rank. Termed MOST (Moderated Online Social Therapy), this system connects young people and family members with a similar mental health challenge via a closed social media platform. Each platform provides a safe private space for members to give and receive support from peers who understand them. Specialist clinicians, vocational experts and trained peer workers work within each platform to further facilitate connection and recovery. This human support is augmented by cutting-edge computational models that are transparently employed to detect risk (rather than buying patterns) and deliver individualised online therapy (rather than targeted click bait).
We built MOST to create a completely new and enriching therapeutic environment where young people and family members can safely self-disclose, take positive interpersonal risks, broaden and rehearse coping skills, discover and exercise their personal strengths, obtain encouragement and validation, and learn how to better solve problems. In 2019 we launched our third and most ambitious version of the system (MOSTv3). This enhanced MOST system is the product of years of agile research and development, and we will continue to innovate to develop the best possible social solution for youth mental health.