• Question: Do you believe that due to the younger generation prioritising social media it has lead to a influx of mental health issues like depression and anxiety?

    Asked by callum to Robert, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      I’m not sure it has lead to an influx or increase in MH issues like depression and anxiety. More to the point, I think that it’s easier than ever to talk and share MH issues.

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      A report from Sky News reveals that 91% of young people aged 16-24 where using the internet (https://news.sky.com/story/why-social-media-can-be-damaging-for-young-people-11513282), whether these contribute to the influx of mental health issues, I’m not sure.

      There’s also the issue of glamourising mental health issues. If you search on YouTube, there are so many videos of people claiming that they have mental health issues. I am not sure if they have actually have it. But we have to be that naive if we don’t think that some of them are doing it just for YouTube views, or just to be to trendy.

    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      I think social media can be bad for mental health if used in the wrong way, and there have been cases of people showing addictions to their phones because they want to constantly check social media. I think it is harder for young people to go home and ‘switch off’ like they used to be able to do. However, if you use it to have meaningful and positive conversations with others it can be good for your mental health.

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      Well, there’s been a recent big study which suggested that the effect of social media on wellbeing (which can include anxiety and depression) in younger adults and teenagers is actually quite small (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/social-media-teenagers-facebook-instagram-snapchat-mental-health-suicide-self-harm-a8901891.html) but there’s likely to be issues with the quality of these studies into social media and anxiety/depression. My impression is that there’s some poor quality research into these effect and I think a lot of research is set up expecting to find a negative effect of social media on wellbeing/anxiety/depression in younger age groups. Personally, I suspect it’s something to do with how we compare ourselves via social media which is having the negative impact on mental health, especially if we are comparing ourselves to how others present themselves (social media is often to present ourselves in a very positive, perhaps not realistic, way – which could make us make certain comparisons)

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 13 Jun 2019:

      Not as yet – Rob linked the study I had in mind. I think there could be certain aspects found in the future but there is no evidence right now.

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 13 Jun 2019:

      This is a good question and a complicated issue. I don’t think social media on its own has led to an influx of mental health issues. However, spending too much time on social media and not enough time with family/friends in real life can be harmful, as social support is vital for wellbeing. Similarly, spending time outdoors and in nature is good for our wellbeing as it helps to calm the mind, and get exercise, which is good for our physical and mental health – if someone’s spending too much time indoors on social media then they won’t benefit from this.
      Plus of course social media can lead to people having unrealistic expectations of themselves and others, which can be potentially damaging.
      Also, as others have said, social media can provide a safe space for people to discuss mental health issues, and to seek support for any difficulties they might be having before they develop into depression or anxiety.