Mental Health and Social Media

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week in Toronto. With the rising use of social media in corporate and personal contexts, our focus this year is on raising awareness about mental health and social media. Are you a community manager? Do you manage a corporate social media account? Are you a social media guru? Blogger? Vlogger? A regular Facebook checker? Stay tuned this week to the blog and L&L social channels for information, tips, and strategies to maintain your mental health while using social media.

Social media is a prevalent part of our lives. It is has become an important medium to stay informed with news, updates from friends and family, and to have fun. Social media has significant influence – we use it learn and share trends, build communities, and learn about others values. But is it all fun and games? Have you ever caught yourself comparing your life to others you see on social media? Or making judgements on people or companies based on one post or comment? Do you get down on yourself when you haven't received as many likes as your previous post? You can see where we are going. We can all understand that social media can have both positive and negative effects on our mental health.

Positive impacts of social media on our mental health:

  • Find and build a support network
  • Stay in touch socially with friends, family, peers, colleagues
  • Staying informed and up to date about current events
  • Document recovery and share experiences
  • Read others stories/experiences – you are not alone!
  • Fight stigma
  • Advocate for causes you believe in

Negative impacts of social media on our mental health:

  • Create and foster anxiety/fear, and influence our self-confidence negatively by altering reality and perceptions of others
  • Difficulty controlling how much time we spend online can potentially lead to addiction to social media. The immediate rewards we feel with very little effort cause our brain to re-wire and feel a greater need for more
  • Increased multitasking on social channels reduces our productivity and causes us to be easily distracted and impacts our memory, and therefore makes it challenging to get work done and complete tasks
  • Have you heard of Phantom vibration syndrome? Ever think your phone is buzzing when it’s not? Our brain again rewires the nervous system as we depend on the buzz
  • Impact on brain chemistry – dopamine, the chemical typically released with love and positive emotional experiences, is released with social media use as a physiological reward from the body – this may influence the strength of our in-person connections
  • Reduced verbal communication in person and less in-person social connections
  • Social media never sleeps, and trying to keep up can reduce our sleep quality, duration, and sleep hygiene

 Check out this video for some chemistry changes on the brain with social media use:

Does your job require you to manage social media channels? We want to help support you! Consider your job description and the job demands you have at hand:

  • Social media is not a 9-5 job
  • Requires you to be always “on” and “connected”
  • Receive and manage complaints and feedback regularly
  • The list goes on...

As we can see the demands of these roles are high and the impact on our mental health is important to consider due to the high risk of compassion fatigue, burnout, sleep deprivation, etc.

So what are you doing to manage your mental health as a social media user? We would love to hear from you! Tweet at us @corporateMH with the hashtag #Mentalhealthweek. We encourage you to share your story and strategies! Let's get talking about mental health and social media use!

Stay tuned for some L&L strategies later this week on the blog!

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