Social Media and Mental Health

Click here to learn more about how social media impacts mental health. Discover the mental health tracker to support clients who might be struggling.

By Chloe Smith on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is the role social media plays in mental health?

In this ever-changing world, social media plays a vital role in people's lives. Whether you utilize social media to navigate work meetings, long-distance relationships with others, or even as a pass time to wind down for the day - social media is arguably the most accessible platform to gain a hold of. This means it's essential to recognize the significant hit mental health can take when it is overutilized.

Social media is often in the line of fire when it comes to understanding the causes of mental health issues. There have been immense studies that look to blame the use of technology for the increase in mental health concerns around the globe, with a recent survey conducted by Beyari (2023) suggesting that social media and technology usage can have a significant impact on mental well-being.

Social media has many positive and negative impacts on the mental well-being of individuals. It allows people to connect and express their individuality when absent. However, it can also have some detrimental consequences, such as feeling like it is taking over their life and problems associated with technology, such as cyberbullying.

It's essential to recognize the importance of maintaining a good balance with social media. Ensure you are keeping track of how you feel when consuming content and being mindful of how much time you spend on social media platforms during the day and evening.

Social media addiction is a real problem we should all work together to tackle. Understanding the balance between a good amount of digital and problematic social media use can be the difference between good mental well-being and bad.

In this guide, we'll discover some positive and negative aspects of social media and how you can support your clients in understanding their tolerance for content consumption and being aware of how the content impacts their mental health and if they need emotional support.

Printable Social Media and Mental Health

Download the Social Media and Mental Health to support clients struggling with mental health because of social media.

Positive aspects of social media

Social media has truly shaped the way we can connect with others. With the click of a button, you can see people across the globe and talk to them. Social media has enhanced our relationship ability, making it seamless to continue living as if that person still lives nearby. There are positive aspects to social media. Here are a few:

Connection

Allowing people to break the distance between them, social media has allowed individuals to connect face-to-face when they are miles away. A simple video call requires a WiFi connection and a social media platform. This helps to foster a sense of closeness.

Information sharing

Individuals no longer need to watch the news bulletin to discover what is happening worldwide, in their country, or even within their local community. Social media can share information that enhances our understanding of topics, news, and essential information.

Community building

Social media has the power to support individuals in finding their community. For example, individuals interested in video gaming can connect using specific platforms designed for gaming chat. Those interested in arts and crafts can find new ideas using social media.

Self-expression

Finally, social media can support individuality. Being able to share things that define an individual can help in self-expression. Sharing posts, photos, artwork, and achievements allows individuals to stay connected through a mutual understanding of what the poster interests and keeping up to date with them.

Negative aspects of social media

Although social media can have some fantastic positive outcomes for individuals, it can also be filled with mental health deteriorating issues. These issues can have a long-lasting impact on an individual's mental health as well as being problems for the future of that person if they are not dealt with. These are some negative aspects of social media that can have an impact on individuals:

Social comparison

Digesting loads of content online can have a detrimental impact on the way that individuals see themselves. Often, many filters allow creators to make themselves look different (sometimes to unachievable looks). This creates a false identity that individuals who consume this content have.

Under these fictional assumptions that people look a certain way, they may begin to compare themselves to unachievable looks and goals through social media. This can hurt mental health and have implications for their future.

Cyberbullying

Bullying is not a new concept. However, using social media has now enhanced how attackers can contact an individual to bully them. Now, bullying can take place within the home, away from where it may have begun. Cyberbullying can include a range of different activities, such as:

  • Harassment
  • Impersonation
  • Exclusion
  • Doxing
  • Outing
  • Cyberstalking
  • Photoshopping
  • Spreading rumors

Individuals who are victims of cyberbullying may find themselves struggling with mental health as well as being unable to remove themselves from the situation.

Addiction

There have been a lot of studies focused on the direction of addiction to social media. Individuals who use social media daily risk becoming dependent on it to feel good. This can happen when people can no longer complete their daily tasks because they require scrolling social media.

Other implications, such as FOMO (fear of missing out), disrupted sleep patterns, reduced productivity, and withdrawal symptoms, can all play a part in needing to consume content online.

Mental health impact

There are many other indirect negative impacts of consuming too much social media. However, the main one remains the impact on mental health. Comparing the self to other individuals online can cause damaging effects on mental well-being, leading to depressive symptoms, anxiety, and even other mental health problems.

Signs that social media is impacting mental health

Everyone is different when it comes to knowing the way something has an impact on us. There can be a few signs that individuals can look out for when assessing whether their social media consumption is impacting their mental health.

Increased stress or anxiety

Individuals who are assessing whether social media is having an impact on their mental health can quickly judge by the number of psychopathic symptoms they are experiencing. By taking a moment to identify if there have been any mental health concerns, such as feelings of overwhelming stress, anxiety, or depressive symptoms, individuals can assess how these feelings might be related to social media.

Disturbed sleep patterns

Problematic social media use can inhibit an individual's ability to engage in proper sleep patterns. Individuals who use social media or their phones in general regularly before bed can be at an increased risk of developing problems such as insomnia and poor sleep quality. This can be because of the blue light devices omit, but also the feel of watching 'one more video' due to FOMO.

Negative self-image

Constant exposure to images online that use filters or are hard to differentiate between real and fake can impact one's self-esteem. Constantly exposing themselves to unachievable standards can affect their ability to feel good about themselves and be confident.

Decreased productivity

Spending more time on social media can lead to issues within work, personal and social life. Spending more time active on social media can lessen the time spent achieving quality work, spending time with family and friends, and even getting personal chores done. If the individual has noticed a decline in their productivity requirements, it can be a sign to look at how much active time they spend on social media.

How to use this template?

Using this template has never been easier. We've created a simple step-by-step set of instructions that you can use yourself or even when explaining to your clients how to utilize this template.

Step one: Obtain the template

You can do this by navigating the Carepatron templates page. Alternatively, you can access the document by clicking the link below.

Step two: Plan with your client

You know your client best. This is why you can either choose to set this template as a homework activity in addition to the current treatment or utilize it within your sessions. We recommend assigning this task as a homework one. This will allow your client to note any changes in their home environment.

Step three: Plan ahead

Use the time within your sessions to create a plan. Inform your client about how this template will benefit them and what you can use going forward within treatment to support them better. During this time, answer any concerns or questions they may have about the activity and support their goals.

Step four: Check in

As with any other form of mental health support, checking in is always a good idea. Checking in with your clients allows them to bring up any problems they may be facing or any questions they may have. During the check-in, let your client assess their feelings on their terms. This will help you better understand how they view their situation and how they require support.

Suggestions for protecting one's mental health

Individuals can do a range of activities to avoid excessive use of social media and halt the desire to stay socially connected at all times. Excessive use of media can put individuals at an increased risk for issues such as low self-esteem and other mental health issues. Young adults can significantly benefit from finding different ways to curate social connections in today's world, allowing them to experience real life through less time on their phones.

Here are only a few suggestions for protecting your mental health:

Reduce time online

Simply reducing the amount of time spent online can support mental health. Those with excessive social media use can benefit from putting their psychological well-being first. Individuals can do this by limiting the hours within the day they can consume content online and increasing the time they spend doing something productive.

Spend more time with offline friends

Spending time with offline friends is essential. Although it's great that we can connect with others around the globe through social media, nothing beats an in-person conversation. Grabbing coffee with a friend, even for only 20 minutes, can enhance our connection with those around us.

Especially spending some time with family members can also enhance our social ability and contribute to positive adolescent health.

Turn off push notifications for social media platforms

We don't mean to turn off your notifications for your work email. Instead, individuals can turn off the push notifications that allow them to get sidetracked when they appear on their phones. Sometimes, a notification comes through, and we can't move on until we've checked or responded.

Turning off push notifications during the day can allow individuals to remain more productive and set reasonable hours for social media use.

Why use Carepatron as your mental health software?

Carepatron is the perfect place for all your mental health software needs.

Here at Carepatron, we are dedicated to simplifying all healthcare professionals' lives. We take this very seriously as we are motivated by our mental health care specialists mainly. With over 200 templates dedicated to therapy techniques you can utilize in your clinic, you can ensure you're obtaining only the most significant and genuine information to use in your clinical setting.

We're also big on our OS system. Carepatron has a range of tools and resources that set us apart from other healthcare systems.

When you choose Carepatron, you can access therapy practice management software that supports you and your co-workers. You can look forward to our ability to set patient reminders with our patient appointment reminder software, the ease of our clinical note system with our clinical documentation software that allows you access from home or the office, and the payment part of the session with our medical billing software.

So, what are you waiting for? Download Carepatron, and you can access various psychological and other resources that allow you and your client to make sure you are supporting your patient's requirements regarding social media as they require.

Mental Health Software

References

Beyari, H. (2023). The relationship between social media and the increase in mental health problems. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(3), 2383. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032383

Can social media cause social anxiety?
Can social media cause social anxiety?

Commonly asked questions

Can social media cause social anxiety?

Some studies have found that social media may cause social anxiety. If you are experiencing any mental health concerns and you think it may be related to social media, you can get in contact with your GP or online search for tools to support you.

How does social media affect you socially?

Social media profoundly shapes relationships, self-esteem, and communication, influencing social dynamics and emotional well-being.

Is social media more harmful or beneficial?

It depends. Everyone has different platforms they like to engage with, which can impact them differently. Social media is a great place to connect and engage with the broader community, which is beneficial. Although social media has some harmful impacts, individuals are encouraged to assess the harmfulness and benefits of their consumption.

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