press release
Published: 05 March 2020

University of Surrey to host candid conversation on social media and mental health

The University of Surrey is encouraging students and staff to have frank conversations about social media and the impact these channels and platforms may have on their mental health, with a lively and topical panel event folding in some inspiring speakers.

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On Thursday 19 March 2020, the University of Surrey will be hosting the No Filter event featuring Love Island alumna Camilla Thurlow and award-winning activist Michelle Elman. These special guests will be joined by Dr Paul Hodkinson, Reader in Sociology at Surrey, whose research explores media, culture and society with a focus on the mental health of new fathers. The event will be chaired by the University’s Professor Melaine Coward, Head of the School of Health Sciences.   

From 6.30pm to 8.30pm in the University’s Rik Medlik Building, the panel will discuss the highs and lows of living in a world that is never offline, and the increasing dominance of social media in our day-to-day lives. The guests will also talk through some techniques and strategies for cultivating a healthy mind and a general sense of fulfilment.

Tickets for the event cost £5 (£4 for students) and all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Samaritans. For more details, please visit:https://www.surrey.ac.uk/events/20200319-no-filter-candid-conversation

Camilla Thurlow, who appeared on Love Island in 2017, is an activist and humanitarian who works closely with organisations such as Help Refugees and The Halo Trust to raise awareness of countries affected by conflict. Camilla has also appeared on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Michelle Elman is an award-winning activist, life coach and presenter whose TEDx talk has been viewed over 50,000 times. She has written pieces for Huffington PostDaily MailGrazia and Cosmo and has frequently been featured on Sky NewsLoose Women and LBC.  Her debut book Am I Ugly? was released in 2018 to rave reviews.

Camilla Thurlow said: “There are examples of social media being used as a platform for good. However, we must also consider how the information we assimilate online, shapes our sense of self and our understanding of the world around us. In an ever-evolving online world, we are still collectively learning how to ensure our relationship with social media is enjoyable and constructive. That's why I am very pleased to join Michelle and the University of Surrey at the No Filter event later this month.”

Michelle Elman said: “The No Filter event is a wonderful opportunity to discuss ways we can all safeguard ourselves from online activity that, if we are unaware, can eat away at many of us. It’s not weak to admit it when we are struggling with these issues, and hopefully we can inspire people to proactively address and improve their mental health.”

Professor Melaine Coward from the University of Surrey said: “The health of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we hope that this event leads to many more conversations across campus and beyond about ways we can all have positive and constructive interactions on our favourite social media platforms.”

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