Social Media & Mental Health

 

Have you ever found yourself tossing and turning, unable to sleep thinking about something that may be weighing heavily on your mind?  If you pick up your Smartphone, Tablet or turn on your laptop and check into Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to post that you need someone to talk to, how likely is it that you are going to get a response? 

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Well according to statistics, it is very likely and it just may make you feel better.  

Social media has become integral to the lives of young adults and teens: 45% of teenagers say they use apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram daily.

In research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, they found that college students who viewed their own Facebook profiles enjoyed a boost in self-esteem afterward.  Nine times out of ten, your “fans, friends or followers” will reach back if you state that you need someone to talk to in times of loneliness or depression which may help many young adults with serious mental illnesses. 

 

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The positive feeling it almost like how you feel after checking yourself out in the mirror before going on a date.  Other studies have revealed that people feel more social support when they present themselves honestly on social media and tend to feel less stressed after they do so.

 “You get much broader affirmation by posting on social media than from calling a relative.  It’s one thing if you text a friend; it’s another thing if you have a bunch of people trying to help you out.”

According to Matthew Oransky, an assistant professor of adolescent psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and a practicing therapist, said many of his patients find social connections online they could not find elsewhere. This is particularly true of marginalized teens, such as kids in foster homes and LGBT adolescents.

“I’ve seen some of the really big positives, which is that kids who are isolated can find a community,” Oransky said. “They’re often first able to come out to online friends.” In a survey in 2013, 50% of LGBT youth reported having at least one close friend they knew only from online interactions.

Young adults with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can find social support via social media, according to a study published in 2016. “These people are openly discussing their illness online,” said John Naslund, a research fellow at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

Social media postings can help foster greater acceptance of mental health problems. “It’s definitely real that there’s hostility online,” Naslund said. “But we’ve found that comments related to mental health are overwhelmingly positive. People can learn how to cope with symptoms and how to find the right support.”

Parents should help their children use social media wisely, experts said. Oransky suggested that parents talk with kids about the privacy consequences of posting compromising material, such as revealing pictures or personal details that might affect their job prospects. Naslund recommended that people start cautiously on social media by using pseudonyms.

Check out this Podcast where we talked about how blogging can be a good low-cost, non-medicinal way in which to improve your mental health.

 

So what are your thoughts, has posting on social media been a boost or deterrent to your state of mind?

 

 

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