It’s hardly news that social media exacerbates mental health problems and generally makes everyone feel a little worse about themselves, but apparently some are worse than others.
A new study conducted by the Young Health Movement and the Royal Society for Public Health surveyed 1,500 14 to 24-year-olds about the effects five social media platforms have on their mental wellbeing.
Instagram was found to be the worst platform, with Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter also having an negative effect. Participants in the research said that social media was worsening bullying, body image anxiety, and feelings of depression and loneliness.
For its part, Instagram has recently address mental health problems in its community with its “HereForYou” campaign to highlight and support people sharing mental health stories on the app.
“The Sad Girls Club (@sadgirlsclubpbg) started with me documenting my worst year of depression, and I created a film out of what I was going through,” says 27-year-old Elyse Fox (@elyse.fox). “My family never knew what was happening with me. I always seemed happy and in a positive mood, so this was my way of telling the world, and the people close to me, ‘This is what’s really going on in my head. This is what’s been going on with me.’ As soon as I released it, 50 girls flooded my inbox saying, ‘I see myself in this story. I can totally relate to this. Can you give me any advice?’ Immediately, I saw a need. There were girls out there, a lot younger than me and as confused as I was at their age, that needed a sense of community, a mentor or just someone to vent to. I wish people understood that depression is an actual sickness. It’s something that needs to be studied and treated as such. And treated with kindness and with love.” #hereforyou Watch our Instagram story where Elyse offers some helpful advice, then, learn more about how our community is sharing their mental health journeys and supporting one another. (Video link in bio) Photo by @elyse.fox
YouTube was the only social network that was actually a positive presence in teen’s lives. Though the video site negatively affect young people’s sleep, something that I think we can all understand, participants said that it lessened feelings of loneliness and depression, offered emotional support and gave them an understanding of other people’s experiences.
In other news, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is shining a much needed light on teen bullying.