Social media can damage mental health, there is no doubt about that.
At this point, I think we are all aware how serious social media addiction can be, and the effects social media can have on self-esteem.
Personally, I am fully pro-social detoxing, and will always encourage people to spend time away from their computers and phones.
In some cases, it’s a good idea to remove social media altogether.
However, It’s important that we are also aware that social media can also be beneficial for some of us. Social media can help people.
For example, It’s well known that in the UK, we don’t have the best mental health care system.
The NHS is underfunded and the mental health sector lacks the funding or support to be able to help all the people who need it.
Many people, like myself, struggle to get the help they need and are left feeling more deflated than prior to seeking help.
Some people will spend years, decades or their life trying to access appropriate care and they will not find it.
It’s dangerous because as more time passes, our mental illnesses can develop and become more deep set and harder to treat.
Sadly, this issue is not isolated to just the UK. I’ve learned from talking to many people and it seems certain that this is a worldwide issue.
When I was 14, I started to really struggle with my mental health but I had no support and no real awareness of what was going on.
How can social media help our mental health, you ask?
Social media, as much as it also caused me some issues, also allowed me to learn that I was not alone and that I was not ‘weird’.
I didn’t have many friends when I was between the ages of 11 and 14. I didn’t have anyone to talk to and I could not trust my family. All I knew is that I felt alone and scared.
While social media was still new at the time, I already felt part of something, I felt connected and the world seemed less lonely.
Some of us only find human connection online, because it’s harder for us to do so in the real world.
Social media, and the internet has over the years, helped me find other forms of support. As well as ways to calm my anxiety, helpline numbers, or places to go if things got really bad.
Nowadays, social media gives me way more support than I have found in actively seeking professional support.
I know that if I have a bad day, I have a whole community out there who are there to listen. I can rant on my blog, ask for dog photos to cheer me up and generally, use social media as a healthy outlet.
When I’ve been in a crisis, after feeling let down and rejected by the NHS, social media has given me the confidence and help I needed, to be able to feel calm enough to talk to my husband and ask for help.
I found that while I was on a waiting list for mental health support, which can take over a year, I didn’t have to feel alone.
Social media is not at all a cure, we shouldn’t self diagnose and we need to limit the time that we do spend online. However, it can prove an aid for the people who need some additional help and support while they are waiting for the professionals.
While it certainly shows how serious it is, that finding help can be impossible. It also shows some merit that there are strangers out there who genuinely want to help you.
The lesson here I think, it that it’s okay to reach out and ask for help, there is so much support out there online and offline.
Don’t be afraid to find some extra layers of comfort while you find your way through your mental health journey.