Social media started as a powerful tool to connect us with old classmates and distant relatives. Relationships that were next to impossible to maintain became as easy to keep up with as a few clicks and a couple dozen keystrokes. These interconnected, visual platforms were a far cry from the chain emails of the years prior.
Fast forward almost 20 years, though, and Facebook is a far cry from what it started as. With nearly 3 billion active monthly users worldwide, Facebook is a massive player in the social media landscape. Plenty of other platforms have created their own segments of dedicated users, too, from Instagram to Snapchat to Twitter to TikTok.
But that instant interconnectedness comes at a price – is social media making us depressed? It’s impossible to look at the state of mental health today and not consider the extensive impact of social media. These massive platforms can be catalysts for intense good, but they inevitably contribute to the opposite side of the coin.
What role does social media play in the rising rates of depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and other mental health struggles? Is social media making us depressed or is there something else to blame?
Benefits of Social Media
Social media comes with incredible benefits. If these power platforms didn’t have many positives, they wouldn’t have become the massive successes they are today. It keeps you in touch with family members in different countries or continents. You can stay updated with old classmates or colleagues who no longer live in town. Social media can help you network, find a job, or spread an important message to those who need to hear it most.
Downsides of Social Media
At the same time, those benefits come with plenty of downsides. There’s the need to feel “always on,” like you must respond instantly to the dozens of notifications you receive each day. You’re exposed to an endless wave of overwhelming news from around the globe, making the world seem like an overall disastrous place. It also contributes to the disease of comparison, encouraging you to see the lives of those around you as much better than yours.
Does Social Media Cause Depression?
Many researchers consider the question, “Is social media making us depressed?” Plenty of research shows that these platforms have played some role in the overwhelming rates of poor mental health in the last decade. For example, studies have revealed that:
- People who check Facebook in the middle of the night are more likely to report feeling depressed and unhappy1
- The less time people spend on social media platforms, the fewer symptoms of depression and loneliness they feel2
- Social media users who felt envy while browsing platforms were more likely to develop symptoms of depression3
Social media undeniably affects mental health among the population, from adolescents to elders. These are only three of the thousands of studies available on social media’s impact on mental health and overall well-being.
Seeking Help For Mental Health
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or another mental health condition, help is available. It doesn’t matter whether your condition developed recently or it’s something you’ve dealt with for years; you deserve the same peace of mind as anyone else.
Lifeskills South Florida has a range of mental health treatment programs for anyone struggling with their mental health. We’re here to help you manage your mental health at whatever stage of life. To learn more about Lifeskills’ programs or the services we offer, please reach out to us at 954-953-1742 today!
- The Lancet. (2018). Association of disrupted circadian rhythmicity with mood disorders.
- Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. (2018). No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression.
- Computers in Human Behavior. (2015). Facebook use, envy, and depression among college students: Is facebooking depressing?.