Mental Health Panel Discussion - “Switch it off” – the media, a global pandemic and its impact on us

This event has now passed.

Date: 04 March 2021
Venue: Online Event
Time: 18:30-20:00

Mental Health Panel Discussion - "Switch it off" - the media, a global pandemic and its impact on us

Since the Coronavirus pandemic began we have been bombarded with information; it dominates the headline news, our social media feeds and most of the daily conversations we are having. This is the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people informed. At the same time, the technology we rely on to keep us connected and informed is enabling and amplifying an infodemic.

An infodemic is an overabundance of information, both online and offline. There is mounting research showing that seemingly endless newsfeeds related to COVID-19 infection and death rates could considerably increase the risk of mental health problems.

So what can we do to help our mental health? In this panel discussion we explore the role of the media, the psychology involved in processing information and look at what we can do to reduce the long-term impact on our mental health.

This event will take place on University Mental Health day. This day brings together the university community to make mental health a university-wide priority and create ongoing year round change to the future of mental health. If you're chatting about this event online please use the hashtag #UniMentalHealthDay.


  • Emma Britton, Radio broadcaster and presenter (Chair)
  • Sylwia Korsak, Founder of
  • Rachel Kelly, Bestselling writer, public speaker and mental health campaigner
  • Dr Gary Christopher, Ageing well lead for the Psychological Sciences Research Group, UWE Bristol
  • Dr Jason Arday, Associate Professor in Sociology and Deputy Executive Dean for People and Culture, Durham University


Emma Britton (Chair)

Emma Britton is an accomplished and experienced radio broadcaster having presented shows for the BBC across both Somerset and Bristol. As a broadcaster, Emma interviewed thousands of people over the 10 years she was on air, from members of the public, to authority figures, to famous people. People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Emma is now working as a freelance presenter, event host and civil celebrant. Emma works fairly, calmly and politely without having to resort to an adversarial approach which is often found in modern media.

Emma is a "people person", outgoing, approachable, engaging and empathetic. She is passionate about putting people at ease in order to get the best out of them!

Sylwia Korsak

Sylwia Korsak (she/her) is Founder of Since 2004 she has helped individuals, organisations and brands with digital and digital wellbeing through consultancy, coaching and counselling.

Rachel Kelly

Rachel Kelly is a bestselling writer, public speaker and mental health campaigner. She writes regularly for the press and gives TV and radio interviews to help educate and break down the stigma around mental illness in her role as an ambassador for several mental health charities. She also shares evidence-based strategies on how to stay calm and well and is the author of four books covering her experience of depression and recovery and her steps to wellbeing from poetry to nutrition. Rachel speaks at events and wellbeing workshops, sharing her motivational and holistic approach to good mental health. She is an official ambassador for Rethink Mental Illness. Her books include her memoir Black Rainbow about her expression of depression and three subsequent books about her recovery and how to stay calm and well: Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness; The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food; and Singing in the Rain: An inspirational workbook published in January 2019. She is a member of the Speakers Collective, a group of speakers with lived experience of mental health conditions.

Dr Gary Christopher

Dr Gary Christopher is the Ageing Well lead for the Psychological Sciences Research Group here at UWE Bristol. His research focuses on memory and emotion regulation within the context of mental health, specifically older adults, dementia, and depression. Recent work focuses on how people process material that poses an existential threat. Dr Christopher's work explores new ways of intervening to boost psychological resources and support for people facing the existential threat of dementia.

Dr Jason Arday

Dr Jason Arday is an Associate Professor in Sociology at Durham University in the Department of Sociology and the Deputy Executive Dean for People and Culture in the Faculty of Social Science and Health. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at The Ohio State University in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, an Adjunct Professor at Nelson Mandela University in the Centre for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation and a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust, the UK's leading Race Equality Thinktank. Jason is also a Trustee of the British Sociological Association (BSA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). He sits on the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) National Advisory Panel and is a School Governor at Shaftesbury Park Primary School in London.


  • 18:27: Join the talk online
  • 18:30-20:00: Panel discussion including Q and A

You will be able to submit questions to the speakers through the event, please note all questions will be moderated in advance of being published. Due to high volumes received on previous events, we cannot guarantee your question will be answered.

Joining the event

We have closed registration for this event, but you can still watch by following this link at 18:30. If you have already registered you will be emailed the link to join.

Event recording

This event will be recorded and we will aim to make it available as a video on YouTube one week after the event, subject to approval of the speakers and no technical difficulties with the recording.

Media Queries

Please contact the Media Relations office if you have a media query about this event, email


If you have any access requirements, please email the Events Team at or ring us on the number below.

UWE Bristol aims to ensure, as much as possible, that all our public events are fully accessible. Early notice of access requirements is much appreciated.

Cost: Free
Contact: Events Team
Telephone: +44(0)117 32 86593

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