Social Media As Good For Mental Health?

Social Media As Good For Mental Health?

Discussions surrounding the relationship between social media and mental health tend to focus on negative impacts of the former on the latter. There is empirical support for a relationship between emergence of depressive and anxiety symptoms and time spent on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But is this a full picture? There is perhaps another side to the coin suggesting social media could also be beneficial to some aspects of our mental health.

Social Media Keeps Us Connected

The Covid-19 pandemic has generated grief and stress for many in our communities. In this context, social media is a means of remaining connected to loved ones, sharing important information with community members, and staying apprised of pandemic-related news. In times of stress, social media can reasonably be understood as a resource that brings us together.

Social Media For Mental Health Support

Even in non-pandemic times, many of us experience periods of more prominent depressive or anxiety symptoms. During these times, folks may turn to the Internet in pursuit of support or encouragement from the mental health community. Research from Michigan State University supports the perspective that responsible social media use can be beneficial to mental health. In one study, researchers analyzed data from more than 13,000 social media relationships maintained by adults. These data suggested that social media users were 63% less likely to experience mental health concerns to include depression and anxiety.

Be A Mindful User

The above research found that individuals who use social media, even on a daily basis, in healthy ways – i.e., to connect with others and share information – had positive mental health outcomes; however, individuals maintaining an unhealthy connection to social media – i.e., excessive checking and re-checking of social media apps fueled by a fear of missing out – tended to have more negative mental health outcomes.

Given these findings, it is perhaps useful to strive to be a more intentional consumer of social media. If you are interested in further exploring your relationship with social media, I invite you to call or email me to get started working together. Telehealth appointments are available.


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