personal blog

Social Media and Health.

I use social media and the web in general extensively. However just recently, have become concerned with the way it may be affecting citizens behaviour.

Facebook and Twitter in my experience are good ways of spreading the word about our community groups activities with a wide audience.

My personal usage is generally about positive things in my life or stories and experiences to help others.

There are a number of links to mental health help sites at the foot of this post.

The rise of social media has meant that we as a global population are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time.
However, our reliance on social media can have a detrimental effect on our mental health. With the average Brit checking their phone as much 28 times a day.
While social media platforms can have their benefits. Using them too frequently can make you feel increasingly unhappy and isolated in the long run.

Source: Six ways social media negatively affects your mental health | The Independent

Negative effects of social media.

A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found people who spend the night checking social media are more likely to suffer from mood problems such as neuroticism and bipolar disorder. Also rating themselves as less happy and more lonely.

Analysing data from 91,000 middle-aged people, researchers found those with “poor sleep hygiene”. Such as checking Facebook late at night.

Were 6% more likely to suffer from depression. 11% more likely to have bipolar. And scored their own happiness as 9% lower than those who had good sleep hygiene.

To counter this, Professor Daniel Smith, from the University of Glasgow, who led the research. Suggested a 10pm cut-off point for mobile use would give the average adult time to wind down before switching off the lights.

His recommendation echoes advice from England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, who warned. “There is increasing public and policy concern about the impact of computer/smartphone screen use, and ‘blue light’, upon human health”.

Most studies examining social media and mental health “aren’t able to determine whether spending more time on social media leads to depression or anxiety. Or if depressed or anxious young people spend more time on social media”. They say “The pathways to mental illness are many and varied, and to suggest mental health problems can be attributed to social media alone. Would be an oversimplification.”

It is also important to note that social media does not affect all people equally, the researchers add, as some individuals may be more susceptible to the negative aspects than others.

Positive effects.

A University of Missouri study that found a link between Facebook use and depression also found that people who use the platform primarily to connect with others do not experience the negative effects. “In fact, when not triggering feelings of envy, the study shows, Facebook could be a good resource and have positive effects on well-being,” Psychology Today reports.

There is also compelling evidence that social media can benefit people already dealing with mental health issues. By helping them build online communities that provide a source of emotional support.

The UK Mental Health Foundation says it is “undeniable” that online technologies can be used to reach the most vulnerable in society, as well as helping to reduce the stigma attached to seeking treatment.

Social media is “invaluable for people with health conditions to know that they are not alone, that there are other people who have gone through this and got better”. Says Professor John Powell, a public health researcher at Oxford University. Who has researched how social media can be used to support people with chronic illnesses.

Helpful Sites

By Pete

Currently I am a director/volunteer of Artisans Collective in Prestatyn North Wales, and also involved with Men’s Shed Prestatyn and Morfa Gateway Projects.

Chair of Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community, Also hold a number of posts on various steering and implementation wellbeing groups in North Wales.

All views on this site are my own and not linked to any organisation.

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