The Ugly Truth About Social Media and Mental Health

Social media platforms are evolving on a daily basis. Have you ever thought how it affects your mental health?

Below I will discuss the good, and bad impact that social media can have on our mental health.

The Good

Social Media platforms
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Social media has many positive benefits on our mental health. Today, many people rely on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram to connect with people. Connecting with people has proven to help reduce stress and anxiety among our population.

Here are some great points from an article by HelpGuide to show how social media helps our well-being.

  1. Communicate with friends and family around the world
  2. Make new connections
  3. Raise awareness on important issues
  4. Seek guidance or offer emotional support
  5. An outlet for expressing your creativity and identity

Who Uses Social Media?

The chart below published by H. Tankovska on Statista  “shows the number of social network users in Canada from 2017 to 2025. In 2019, there were approximately 25.35 million social network users in Canada, and this figure is projected to grow to 32.07 million users in 2023.” 

Social media users 2017 - 2025
Published by H. Tankovska via Statista

The Bad

With every good, there comes a bad. The negative impact that social media has on our mental wellbeing is becoming unhealthy and affects numerous age groups around the world. Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.

Here is a list of negative ways in which social media affects our mental health:

  1. Depression
  2. Anxiety
  3. Low self-esteem
  4. Unhealthy coping mechanism
  5. Negative emotions
  6. Lack of sleep

lady alone in the dark
Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

How to Better Your Mental Health

Here is a list of ways in which minimizing social media can help with your mental health:

  1. Minimize online time – a great way in which I find helps is by leaving my device in another room when I go to sleep.
  2. Change your reasoning – try not to go online when you are bored or see how many people have liked your posts. Take a moment and think to yourself about the reasoning behind why you are logging onto social channels.
  3. Spend more time offline – we all need social interaction with our friends and family, try and set a regular time in which you hang out and interact with each other
  4. Show yourself gratitude – take some time to reflect on the positive things in your life, whether you write down your thoughts in a journal or practice meditation
  5. Increase physical activity – set a time for yourself every day to get up and move your body, hold yourself accountable and get up and move!

For more great tips on how you can better your mental health, check out this great article on HelpGuide.

Now ask yourself,  how do you better your mental health and not let social media take over?


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13 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth About Social Media and Mental Health

  1. Hi Brittney

    I agree with the good and the bad points you bring forward.

    Highlighting the good, I am thankful that during the pandemic I became adept at using Zoom. We celebrated more than a few virtual family get togethers which helped to bolster spirits when we could not be directly with those that we love. I was even able to connect with fellow musicians to record some music as well. Music always soothes the soul. We even named our channel Project Q:The Quarantine Tapes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytPcXJvY2pE

    Highlighting the bad, I had to take a couple of extended breaks from Facebook and Twitter during the previous presidency in the United States. I was unable to solve the world’s problems through a few Facebook posts and got into some very heated discussions with family members which caused me to become angry and depressed.

    Thankfully, my gym remained open through much of the pandemic, and, as you pointed out, consistent physical activity and time offline continues to be important for me to reduce stress levels.

    Great topic and excellent hints and tips. Cheers!

    • Thanks for sharing, I too also had a lot of family Zoom meet-ups in the past year and a half, definitely was a great way to stay connected as we couldn’t be together in person.

      You are also very lucky that your gyms stayed open, I live in Ontario and the gym’s just opened back up on July 16. I was very lucky that COVID helped me to get motivated again with a workout routine and have been able to work out 5-6 days each week!

  2. Oh, good points, and definitely something for us to consider as we immerse ourselves further in social media through this course and potentially through career changes. I like your ideas about being very intentional about what is social media time, and what is non-social media time. I am also a big fan of the value of exercise and gratitude journaling on mental health. As restrictions ease I am so looking forward to seeing other humans in real life!!

    I worry particularly about the impact on the mental health of teens and young adults. I wonder if as a society we should be intentionally teaching them about the impact of social media, and how to view it in a way that makes them less vulnerable to its dangers. You’ve got me thinking now!

    • Thank you Brenda, I too am looking forward to seeing other humans again and also getting back to the gym to work on some fitness goals.

      I have to agree with you, society today should be intentionally teaching teens about the impact that social media has on teens. I also believe that parents should also be addressing this with their kids to make sure they are less vulnerable to its dangers, and also making sure that it’s not impacting their mental health.

  3. Hi Brittney,
    Your blog is very timely. Today a student told me that one of their neighbours’ 19-year son committed suicide. This opened up the conversation about the impact of social media on users’ mental health. It is a very big issue.

    The more we openly speak about it, hopefully more people will recognize the problem in themselves or their loved ones and get some help.

    Thank you. Cheers,

    Meherbani Kaur

  4. That is very sad to hear. My condolences go out to their friends and family.
    I 100% agree with you that the more we speak about it, the more people will recognize the problem in themselves or their loved ones and hopefully seek help.

  5. This is the best blog that I’ve read in a long time. You did an excellent job, beginning with the positive, moving into the negative, and followed by sound corrective measures. Not only did you do a good job, but you did a good job on something that is very important. While others talk politics, and specifically bring up names that are heroes to some and villains to others, and thus contributing yet again to the division of all women and men, you took flight above the high road, and left all the bad stuff down below. Well done and thank you for this!

    • Thank you, I too believe this is a VERY important topic to discuss. Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves and get into a sticky situation.

  6. Reblogged this on Algonquin College Social Media Certificate Program and commented:

    Hi Brittney,

    I think you make some great points about the positive and negative impacts of social media that people don’t often think of. And although we may often look past the negatives and think “That’s not me”, we often don’t see it coming.

    It can sneak up so quickly in our lives and we really need to actively think about ways to avoid letting social media run our lives.

  7. Hi Brittney,

    You brought up some great points! Throughout the pandemic social media has helped unify everyone in a time where people were very isolated, and unable to socialize as they once had. in a sense, it created an environment where people could feel a little bit less alone, through zoom parties, Facetime, Instagram live, etc.

    In my personal experience, I found a lot of creators on platforms that were candid about the struggles that they faced through the pandemic. I, and I’m sure many others found it very helpful knowing that they were not alone through the ups and the downs their mental health took through the multiple waves and lockdowns.

    That being said, there are so many ways in which social media hinders our well being, whether it be negative “trolls” on the internet, or looking to it for validation of our self-worth. The tips you wrote about are certainly very helpful.

    Best,

    Celeste

    • Hi Celeste,

      I agree with you, too have learned to use Zoom and other online platforms during the pandemic to stay connected with friends and family.

      You can never get away from the “trolls” on the internet, however, we can definitely try and turn a blind eye to them as we never know who is watching what we do online or how it can affect us in the long run.

  8. Hi Brittany,

    Mental health and social media definitely go hand-in-hand, for both the good and bad. For me, I have made friends who I probably would have never met in-person as they are from all different parts of the world from the US to the UK to Australia. I enjoying playing videogames with these people, and we communicate through Discord, another social media tool often not thought about.

    Unfortunately there is always a downside to everything. I make content on YouTube and I know when I first started I would check the numbers on how my videos have been doing multiple times a day and I realized that wasn’t healthy. I’m at a point now where I do check every few days because I know I need to know how my channel is doing and what I need to make sure my channel is on an upward trend. But I don’t need to check it that frequently.

    For me, looking at engagement too frequently will lead to burnout, but if I am on a Discord call with friends, it’s the same as calling someone on the phone and I don’t see it as an equivalent as likes, dislikes, etc..

    Great blog.

  9. Thank you for your comments. I too have met a lot of great motivational and inspiring women over different social channels. We connect through an online fitness group to help keep other women motivated to want to live a healthy lifestyle.

    I know a bit about Discord as my other half is a gamer and plays games with his friends. I would have to agree with you that Discord is definitely a different type of platform, and is similar to speaking with one on the phone.

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