Does Social Media Affect Our Mental Health? What Social Platforms are Doing to Combat these Growing Challenges

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Social media is an incredible tool for human connection, but this doesn’t mean that users always have positive experiences on these platforms. Studies have found that high screen times are related to high risk for low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.

In light of these growing challenges, social media platforms have started initiatives to alleviate these mental health concerns.

Today, on World Mental Health Day we want to share some resources that will help users have better experiences online.

Instagram: “Pressure to be Perfect” Initiative

Instagram is usually referred to as a highlight reel with curated images and polished aesthetics. It is a place that makes it easy for users to lose sight of the platform’s true purpose: inspiration, not comparison.

Instagram, along with the Jed Foundation, launched the Pressure to be Perfect initiative with the goal of providing users with a toolkit to help them find the best ways to use the platform. According to their guide, their mission is about “recognizing that what you see posted by others is just one part of their story—a single post or video rarely reflects all that is happening behind the scenes. That realization can help free us from the pressure of thinking we need to conform to a certain set of standards when we post moving from a mindset of comparing yourself with others to one where you are thoughtfully sharing yourself with others could help make the time you spend on Instagram more intentional and rewarding.”

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Pinterest: Driving Compassionate Searches

Pinterest collaborated with Brainstorm, the Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, and the Vibrant Emotional Health and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to create a series of well-being activities. Their purpose is for users to take advantage of said activities right on the platform in moments of stress, anxiety, or sadness.

The platform prompts these resources when a user is looking for specific search terms such as “stress quotes” or “work anxiety.” If someone is searching for self-harm related content, Pinterest will direct them to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be accessed in just two taps.

TikTok Influencers Are Here to Help

It’s no secret that Tiktok is the ultimate micro-learning platform. When it comes to mental health, TikTok influencers don’t shy away from sharing mental health tips and words of encouragement. The platform has everything, from hacks for boosting energy to methods for keeping a tight schedule.

@dreadbehemothYour friendly neighborhood therapist here! ##foryou ##anxietey ##fy ##fyp ##therapy ##help♬ Ride It – Regard

TikTok is on a mission to make sure that this positive user-generated content is seen. The platform launched an account that serves as the home for multiple quick bites made by all types of creators with the purpose to improve mental health and educate on platform guidelines that limit app use and protect privacy. The account’s bio reads: “we’re on a mission to promote privacy, safety, and positive vibes!”

Snapchat: “Here for You”

Snapchat is another platform that provides in-app resources on the spot when users search for certain topics, which range from anxiety, depression, stress, grief, suicidal thoughts, and bullying.

Social Media Influencers and Mental Health

Social media influencers are breaking away from the expectation of only posting carefully edited images that portray a perfect life. Authentic and raw content is attracting eyeballs even on platforms like Instagram- where polished aesthetics used to be the norm.

In recent years we have seen a new wave of creators who want to create awareness on important topics that were not talked about in traditional media just a few years ago. More and more, we see influencers opening up about mental health and sparking a conversation about it online.

Brands are noticing this shift on social media and are utilizing influencer marketing to spread resources and to normalize conversations around mental health in a more meaningful and human way.