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Liam Hackett: “2017 Was Our Biggest Year Yet”

2017 in review

As many who have followed the journey of Ditch the Label will know, our global movement started with an online Myspace blog, posted over 10-years ago. After being bullied for almost a decade, it was a final lifeline for me and an opportunity to talk about my experiences online. Over night, I was inundated with hundreds of messages from people who had, or were going through a similar experience of bullying and I quickly realised that this was something that affected an inconceivable amount of people. A community started to organically grow and Ditch the Label officially launched as an organisation in 2012.

Today, I am proud to say that throughout 2017, over 1.1 million young people have accessed our support materials and resources – a record breaking milestone for us at Ditch the Label. This number is significant because it is a clear indication of growth and testament to the fact that an increasing amount of young people are turning to us for support. Yes, the figures are harrowing, but the extent to which bullying is an issue is widespread and an issue that we are determined to combat.

This year, the entire Ditch the Label team have been working exceptionally hard on delivering new support services, producing leading research and creating global campaigns to strive closer to a world that is truly fair, equal and free from all types of bullying. 2017 marked a period of great change, with new challenges and opportunities but one thing emerged and that is the importance of community and not going through things alone.

Key highlights

Welcome to our Community

In February, we launched our global online support Community – offering young people a safe space to talk about the issues on their mind. The community has grown to be the largest dedicated anti-bullying support community online. Our community has been growing wonderfully throughout the year, as young people have come together united by their experiences. Visit our Community here.

Are you living an insta lie?

Now a term in itself, our video uncovering the truth behind the seemingly perfect images you see on social media has been viewed over 60-million times this year and went on to inspire a global movement of young people becoming increasingly critical of the media that they consume online. In partnership with boohoo, the video went on to inspire other similar videos as hundreds of thousands contributed to the global conversation.

Gamers Unite for a Better Internet

We worked with our friends at Habbo earlier in the year to better understand and highlight the extent of online abuse within gaming platforms and then used our findings to inform a global campaign we produced in partnership with EA Games to unite the gaming community towards a better internet, that rejects online toxicity and bullying. Check out the campaign.

Is it okay for guys to…?

We were exceptionally proud to work with our partners at male grooming brand, Lynx, on a new global campaign to address some of the questions guys were typing into Google. We created a bespoke support hub to address anything from the hilarious, to the incredibly serious. Is it okay for guys to wear pink? Is it okay for guys to be skinny? Is it okay for guys to cry? Throughout 2017, we have worked closely with Lynx, who share our vision for a world that is free of bullying and will be launching some incredibly moving and exciting projects together throughout 2018. View the hub.

What 12-million conversations can teach us about mental health

Working with our friends at Brandwatch, we were able to analyse over 12-million conversations across social media to gain new insights into how people talk about mental health online. Using big data, we were able to identify gaps in the provision of support and to quantify the extent and impact of stigma. Our findings were presented in the Houses of Parliament at our Parliamentary Reception in October, where we hosted a panel discussion with esteemed experts and thought leaders to talk about mental health in the digital age.
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The Mental Health Report

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The Annual Bullying Survey 2017

Our fifth and largest ever edition of The Annual Bullying Survey this year explored the impact of technology and social media on the lives of young people. The research gave unparalleled access to some of the unique challenges people face when growing up in a digital age and created huge societal debate and discussion.
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The Annual Bullying Survey

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Other notable highlights

Personal highlights for me this year was representing Ditch the Label at the United Nations in New York, to talk about Media Information Literacy, in addition to writing a piece for the esteemed UN Chronicle about cyberbullying as a human rights issue. You can read the article here. I learnt a lot about make-up and the impact of make-up shaming through our partnership with Sleek MakeUP earlier this year and found that many of the issues tie into the wider issue of appearance-based pressures. It was also an honour to start in the Huffington Post’s web series, ‘New Activists’, which followed us activists around as we work hard to create a better society of all. You can watch the series here.

In summary

I have no doubt missed out a ton of hugely important and exciting work, but this year truly has been a year of significant progress and success. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire Ditch the Label team for their hard work, our board for their guidance and our esteemed partners and funders for helping us turn our vision into reality. 2018 is already set to be an incredibly exciting year for us at Ditch the Label and a time where more young people than ever before will benefit from our support.

Thank you.

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