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Social Media and The Pandemic – A Challenge to Mental Health?

For the past two years, the only thing pulling people through tough times are trending cat videos and viral TikToks on social media.

Alright, that might be a bit of a stretch but, we all can agree on the fact that social media has definitely become more common than ever before. And yes, a big reason for that increased consumption is, you guessed it, the pandemic. Another significant characteristic of the pandemic is a decline in mental health with people reporting anxiety, panic attacks, and depression more than ever before.

Pexels | It’s hard not to speculate whether there could be a link between social media and declining mental health

The Prime Way to Communicate

Before jumping into the facts and figures, let’s be honest, spending endless time stuck indoors without friends and family wasn’t really fun. This was the time when social media usage started rising due to a need to stay in touch with people.

Soon enough, many workplaces were forced into moving online because of the rising infected cases so basically, there was no escaping. Now, the question is can social media negatively impact mental health, despite being an essential way to communicate?

WHO and CDC Statistics

The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted surveys and studies which reported that 20% of the children of the world population suffer from mental health conditions and suicide is the second leading reason behind deaths of people aged 15 to 29. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also released data showing the grim reality of today’s America. This study shows that 31% of adults show symptoms of anxiety or depression, 13% reported struggling with the onset or increase of substance abuse, 26% show stress-related symptoms, while 11% of adults are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Pexels | Current statistics for mental health in America show a disastrous scenario

Social Media’s Negative Impact

These figures are bone-chilling and remind us about how important mental health is. Over the course of the past two years, there has been a significant increase in awareness and discussion about mental health, especially due to the drastic changes ushered by the pandemic. The increasing decline in mental health brings us back to the question: does social media affect our mental health? From what the stats are telling us, yes it does.

Researchers from China held a survey for 512 college students, results of which showed that there is a link between high risk of depression and increased use of social media. They also concluded that the misinformation on social media may be a contributor to increased risk of depression in people.

Pexels | Another study published in Globalization and Health shows that the increased virus infection rates and deaths negatively impact the mental health of some individuals

The only way to combat this issue is by limiting social media time and by taking time out for activities that help and support mental health.

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