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Link Between Depression and Social Media Use

Link Between Depression and Social Media Use

Most of us have accounts with multiple social media sites. But what do those sites do to our mental health? About 88 percent of 18 to 29 year olds use some kind of social media. Study after study, they are showing the same thing. There is a "casual" link between online networking and depression.

When you're using social media, how do you feel?

  • Kirstin Borge, UMary Student: "It depends, sometimes I see things and think, 'oh that's really cool.' I wish I could be on vacation, or different things like that."
  • Tate Barnhardt, UMary Student: "I want what I don't have. It's nice to imagine myself doing certain things even though I can't."
  • Jessica Clement is a licensed professional counselor with CHI explains the pressure users feel before posting.

Jessica Clement: "Seems like there's more pressure now with social media to present a certain image, to appear perfect." Making young adults take a second look at their posts.

Kirstin: "I guess one thing is wondering if people are going to like it I guess."

Tate: "Triple check and make sure everything is spelled correctly and is just the way I want it. I want it to be perfect and not have anyone ridicule me for posting something."

With an endless amount of filters, it can be easy to be a different, and even better person online. Clement says when we begin comparing, feelings of self-doubt and depression can creep up.

Jessica Clement, Licensed Professional Counselor: "there's the comparison factor. If you're on social media and comparing yourself to others, in particular, negatively comparing yourself, I think that can be risky also."

Kirstin: "Social media is more like a highlight reel. It's not really realistic. Social media is not real life. It's so easy to Photoshop and make yourself look different."

Tate: "I actually deleted my Facebook recently because of that. I got sick of seeing everyone posting about their life. I realized I didn't care that much, and I'd be comparing myself to them."

A University of Pennsylvania study shows the main factor for social media depression is comparing your life to others. The second is FOMO, or fear of missing out. To read the full study, click here. If you feel you're facing depression from using social media, the solution is simple. Cut back your time online.

Malique Rankin reporting