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Mental Health awareness: Social Media's negative effect.

Mental Health. Mental health awareness. Health. Social Media. Thoughts. Self-esteem. Love. Wellbeing

What is Mental Health?

The word Mental Health gets thrown around a lot these days but many of us may not truly understand what this concept even means? For all, it could just be a broad concept such as how you are feeling currently? Perhaps, just something that you have not really ever thought about, and how much of an impact mental health has on your day-to-day life? Well, Mental Health is very important and I am here to show you how. Mental Health is a collection of things, think of a spider-web that interconnects ideas of how you view yourself (self-image) to your contentment with your current life all the way to how you view the world. Mental health has a huge impact on all of us whether we realise it or not. Mental Health issues may be anxiety, depression, or simply just emotional health and FOMO. We all have to be conscious of this. A good way to summarise all this is with the definition:

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

With this knowledge, people will further understand themselves and how their mental health is important. How social media may be having a negative effect on their mental health. This may also help them differentiate mental health from similar concepts such as behavioral health,

Social Media.

Social Media has become very influential in today's world. The most influential companies such as Disney view Social Media as significant. The average person views social media as significant due to how easy and simple it is to communicate with friends and family all over the world. This begs the question, how much of an impact does being on social media actually have on us? Being constantly exposed to constant marketing, perfect snapshots of people's lives all the way to seeing news in a different continent. This all influences us subconsciously.

How does Social Media influence Mental Health?

Social media has been shown to have a correlation with mental health and can have very devastating effects on a person's mental health. This is due to many things such as Social Media not being representative of real life.

A survey of 736 college students found that Facebook use can trigger feelings of envy. -ScienceDirect

This is a very worrying statistic as it shows this impact is not just limited to a small group of people or an anomaly. This suggests that anyone can be at risk even if they do not show signs of anxiety or depression.

Feelings of envy were found to predict depression symptoms. -ScienceDirect

This shows the importance of Mental Health awareness and why we need to teach the impacts Social Media may have on an individual.

Social Media can also have an impact on how a person may view themselves. This is because people have a tendency to compare themselves to others. This becomes especially toxic to one's mental health as Social Media posts are usually curated to look perfect or idealistic so they are not accurate in regards to reality. This is particularly harmful to younger people. By informing people social media is not representative of reality, they are much less likely to deal with these feelings of low self-esteem.

To perfect a picture, people often turn to editing. Instagram has always had it’s own filters, which focuses on changing colours, highlights/shadows and the contrast -Mindless Mag

FOMO and Social Media is a very big issue in today's world. FOMO means fear of missing out. It is a toxic cycle. Social Media may make an individual feel bad yet they can not stop as they have a fear of missing out on something.

The fear of missing out (FoMO) on Social Media refers to the apprehension that online content and interactions from others are unseen and reacted to in a timely fashion. -National Library of Medicine

How can we spread awareness of the impacts Social Media may have on Mental Health?

There are various ways of spreading awareness.

1. Breaking the stigma.

This can be done by simply asking your friends how they are feeling and just checking up on them. This allows for people to feel comfortable to talk about how they are feeling and stops them from possibly bottling up how they feel. This helps improve their mental stability.

Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. -Skillbase First Aid

2 .Spreading awareness of ways to support Mental Health.

This can be by telling friends and family the importance of exercise or anything else that may have a positive impact on their mental health. This may help them see there are routes they can take to help themselves. Also, pointing them in the direction of mental health services.

Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety. -Mayo Clinic

3. Spread awareness.

Simply participate and try to be as proactive as possible. For example, educating yourself about the signs to be aware of regarding Mental Health.

It's crucial for caregivers, employers, parents, family members, and loved ones to understand the impact that mental health has on daily life. -BetterUp

We must talk and educate people about the impact social media may have on mental health. This will help people deal with whatever they are going through easier as they are able to spot the signs of these impacts. Even though, Social Media may not be the only factor that can harm Mental Health, it can still have devastating impacts on a person. Spread awareness.


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