Nearly one in five Americans suffer from a mental health illness each year. That number equals 18.2 percent of the adult population in the United States. Mental illness is a growing issue as we see trends throughout the many generations.
The millennial generation has been exposed to rapid advances in technology and widespread use of various social networks. Some argue that social media is correlated to a decline in mental health, however, it can also have the reverse affect.
Connecting on Social Media.
Connecting with friends and family over social networks can reduce depression and anxiety. Social media allows people to reach out to their loved ones from a distance, providing an outlet for those suffering to receive more support and guidance.
Social media networks offer a wide range of support groups. With people around the globe interacting online, these types of support groups offer nearly around-the-clock support. On top of that, support groups on social networks bring people together who are struggling with similar conditions. Many of these relationships would not be possible if social media did not exist.
Build a Voice.
Social media helps people build a voice and gain trust. Speaking up and offering advice can be intimidating in a face-to-face context. Online networks reduce the stress, encouraging people to share their opinion and offer a helping hand.
Social media helps promote healthy lifestyles changes. Social media can be one of the first places people go when making an announcement that has to do with their personal lives. Announcing a goal or lifestyle change publicly builds a new following of supporters. You put the accountability on each other to follow through with that goal, resulting in positive reinforcement and stronger motivation.
There are many debates over what boosts mental health, what harms it, and what has no effect at all. Social media is a staple of the millennial generation, and while some say it will help and others find it harmful…there is no arguing the prevalence of it in the lives of millennials today.
As users, we need to be mindful of how we act and react while engaging on social media. Remember, there is a person behind the screen. Use social media to ask for help when you’re seeking it, share your opinion where it’s needed, and give advice when it’s asked for.
Mental Health Support Groups: Totally Mental, Mental Health Advocates United and Anxiety and Depression Support Group