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Social Media and Mental Health


The growth of social media and its integration into every day life has raised questions about the relationship it has with mental health.

The Center for Mental Health mentions that social media can increase anxiety, loneliness, and the fear of missing out.

Social media starts to get detrimental when an addiction starts to form, leaving the person with urges to constantly check their profiles for instant gratification.

If gratification isn’t met people can start experiencing feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and can change the way someone begins to perceive themselves.

Often times people look at photos and posts in comparison to their own lives.

This can trigger self doubt that they’re not ‘cool enough’ or that their life isn’t exciting enough.

“From another angle, online platforms may also have the potential to damage mental wellbeing through promoting unreasonable expectations. Social media has been linked to poor self-esteem and self-image through the advent of image manipulation on photo sharing platforms.” –Rhys Edmonds (Center for Mental Health)

Harvard School of Public Health gives and example of the difference between healthy vs problematic social media use and its effects on social well-being, positive mental health, and self-rated health as follows:

Using social media in your routine to share content and respond to others is positively associated with all three health outcomes.

Having an emotional connection to social media and checking It excessively in fear of missing out, feeling disconnected or disappointed when you can’t check your apps is negatively associated with all three outcomes.

In this short podcast I briefly talk about the effect that social media has on mental health and elaborate on the information listed above.

It includes the thoughts of 5 teenage boys (ages 12-15) from Sacramento High School as well as Jennifer Green (age 33) from El Cerrito, California who has a daughter in elementary school (age 9).


How do you think social media can affect mental health in a positive or negative way? Share your thoughts below.

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