The surprising link between social media and mental health

Jun 11, 2018

Social media is bad for our mental health: it’s a fact.

Or is it?

Well, Facebook has recently conceded that social media can have a negative impact on users’ mental health. Meanwhile, research carried out by the Department of Education has concluded that the mental wellbeing of teenage girls is decreasing, citing social media as the cause.

The evidence against appears to be damning. However, with more and more people turning to social media platforms for assistance with mental health issues – on average, we spend over two hours a day Liking, Tweeting and sharing – there are some positive aspects to note.

One benefit is the ability of social media platforms to remove the stigma that is so often attached to mental health issues, by airing them in an inclusive forum. While this can in no way be counted as a cure, social media can help to promote awareness and discussion around ‘taboo’ mental health subjects, particularly when celebrities become involved.

Estimates show that 39% of people seeking health and wellbeing information use social media, with many of them joining specific groups. This may be in response to longer NHS waiting times, or people feeling as though they are not getting the support they need from their doctor. Indeed, mental health is taking centre stage in UK policy, with the proposed review of the Mental Health Act together with targets to reduce the ‘medicalisation’ of mental health all in place.

Social media platforms are criticised for promoting aspirational lifestyles nobody is able to live up to in reality. However, people often use the platforms to share their honest, real-world thoughts and feelings. This can act as a coping mechanism, as well as giving a relatable voice to the stresses we all encounter every day.

Used honestly, correctly (and perhaps sparingly), social media can act as welcome support for many, making users feel that they do not have to be afraid of, or alone with, their problems. Particularly if you have already taken medical advice and have received a formal diagnosis, you may well find vital support is available on social media platforms.

It should be stressed, however, that no social media platform can replace accessing a qualified mental health professional for personal guidance and support. With the advent of technology, sessions can easily be arranged over the telephone or Skype, so there is no need for you to leave the comfort of your home as you talk through your issues.

All About People are a team of welcoming, experienced and professional therapists, all of whom are qualified in a range of therapeutic disciplines and are trained to listen without judgement.

If you are seeking confidential support with specific mental health issues, or you simply need to talk openly and honestly with a friendly and experienced therapist, we will be happy to welcome you at our comfortable office in Leamington Spa. Alternatively, we are able to arrange sessions over the telephone or FaceTime if preferred.

For further information or to ask questions in confidence, please contact us.

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