In my last post I discussed the negative impact that social media has on the mental health of young adults.
If you haven’t read it yet check it out here!
It seems that, at times, social media has a predominantly destructive influence on the mental health of teens and college students who are exposed to multiple social media platforms on a daily basis.
Perhaps there is some truth to the theory that mental health suffers in conjunction with the rate at which younger generations use social media.
A great deal of research suggests that the more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Even so, it is still difficult to provide a direct answer to the question;
Is social media harmful or helpful to the mental health of young adults?
I can guess that you are probably annoyed with this observation. I know, because I too find myself wishing for a simpler answer—it would certainly make writing this blog post a hell of a lot easier!
The truth is that the introduction of social media into mainstream society has also helped to improve the mental health of younger generations in various ways.
This time around I hope to illustrate the ways social media has benefited the mental health of young adults.
With that in mind, let’s check out some modern examples.
a. Social Media provides teens with experience socializing
Teenagers tend to be the most social age group because they are always looking to connect with other people of their own age. Social media, albeit in an unusual manner, allows teens immediate accessibility to socializing with each other.
At the same time, research indicates that social media platforms provide teens who are struggling with social anxiety and forms of face-to-face interaction a safe, accessible space to practice their social skills with other people.
b. It promotes inclusivity in marginalized groups
Teenagers in marginalized groups like the LGBTQA+ community or those who struggle with disabilities often feel excluded and mistreated by some of their peers. Feeling misunderstood and often alone, many of them turn to forms of social isolation and destructive coping mechanisms that lead into mental illness.
Sources show that social media has proven to provide teens in marginalized groups the chance to support each other by forming online friendships through shared experiences and challenges. These opportunities have the power to show teens that they are not alone in the difficulties they face.
c. Social media helps to end the stigmatization of mental health
Mental health issues have long been considered a taboo in mainstream society. Even today people struggle to voice their opinions and experiences related to mental illness for fear of judgement.
Social media platforms are slowly encouraging people to change the conversation on mental health through social media campaigns geared toward encouraging open conversation on mental health.
One of the most popular campaigns is Canada’s Bell Let’s Talk initiative. Founded in 2010, the campaign was set up as a twitter hashtag to promote online discussions about mental health awareness and has since raised millions in donations for mental health programs and research.
Writers online publish just as many personal pieces about their journey living with a mental illness that help to provide a clearer perspective into the world of mental health.
A personal favorite of mine is an article published in the Independent by mother and writer, Geraldine Walsh, who discusses her challenges with raising a family and living with diagnosed anxiety and depression. It is definitely worth the read and provides insight into how social media can be used to end the stigma on mental health.
It would be simpler to label social media as the main cause for increasing reports of mental illness in teens and young adults but doing so would be inaccurate. Social media provides people with a call to action in advocating for mental health awareness. The proof is evident in online organizations, independent blogs, and tweets dedicated to creating visibility for mental health awareness.
There are also many other articles that support the idea that social media can actually benefit a person’s mental health. Looking to learn more about the positive impact social media has on mental health? I recommend checking out 7 Ways Social Media Can Benefit Mental Health by writer Kevin Naruse of the blog PaintedBrain.
I believe it’s possible for young adults to minimize the drawbacks that social media can have on their mental health. It’s important to consider the ways they use social media and the amount of time that they spend on it. In doing so, young adults can take control of how social media impacts their mental health.
The most important take away is this: social media gives hope to so many people who struggle with mental illness and other social challenges. That is a fact that cannot be ignored but it is time we finally start acknowledging the ways that social media influences the mental health of young adults, both good and bad, so we can start making a difference.
I am hoping that these few articles and suggestions make you think about the ways that social media has an impact on you.
How do you feel when using social media? Do you find yourself getting overwhelmed or depressed after logging on to social media platforms? What are some ways you try to control the amount of time you spend on social media?
Leave a comment below to let us know and help others manage their time on social media and feel free to share this post to spread the word!
As always, remember to make your mind a priority and take care –