On Monday, the New York City Health Department launched a page on the social networking Web site MySpace to provide support for teens and children who are depressed, using drugs or experiencing violence, the New York Sun reports (New York Sun, 7/8).
The MySpace page, called NYC Teen Mindspace, is the health department's first effort to promote health through a social networking Web site (United Press International, 7/8). The page features three fictional characters -- Kyle, Nicole and Stephanie -- designed to represent teens dealing with depression, drug use and other problems (New York Sun, 7/8).
Visitors to Mindspace can obtain referrals for treatment by sending a confidential message to mental health counselors from LifeNet, a service offered by the Mental Health Association of New York. The page includes quizzes, polls, games and fact sheets, but it does not offer live assistance (United Press International, 7/8).
The health department decided to launch the page after boys participating in focus groups said they would not look at traditional promotional posters. Fifty-eight percent of children ages 12 to 17 have a profile on a social-networking Web site, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project (Lite, New York Daily News, 7/7).