The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

When asked, "How has social media impacted mental health?", my response is, "In some ways good and in some ways bad". Having easy access to opinions of others on social media, when someone is feeling bad, could possibly make it worse by: · Creating more fear of mental illness in general, possibly perpetuating an increase in stigma and causing isolation and shame. · Causing someone who needs help to stay silent, increase thoughts of suicide or incite a plan to act · Giving misinformation or false beliefs (of recovery or not) affecting choices by the person or by family members · Influencing sufferers to believe that advice from other people with similar symptoms or diagnoses have the only solutions and options · Believing research that reports low outcomes of getting well and that living a healthy, productive and fulfilling life is not possible · Allowing the potential for hurtful comments, negative feedback and inaccurate information · Keeping someone from seeking one on one professional help · Causing people to get caught up in others circumstances and acting as therapist Now for the good news. Social media may have positive effects on mental health by: · Offering a comfortable space to develop a sense of community · Providing information to dispel myths and reduce stigma · Giving people from remote areas access to others who have recovered from or live successfully with mental illness · Decreasing a feeling of isolation · Creating a platform to talk with others about personal problems related to a specific mental health condition · Facilitating an opportunity to discuss options for treatment and share uplifting stories of triumph · Receiving positive support and encouragement from peers · Allowing friends and Family members to meet others who understand · Quickly find examples of what to do in the moment until you can get help · Providing hope and laughter to individuals and others with mental health challenges, which is the best medicine of all

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