Social Media and Mental Health: What are the Benefits and Challenges?

The 10th of October marks World Mental Health Day, this is all about raising awareness to ensure positive change for everyone’s mental health. It is well-established that communication is key when it comes to better mental health, but does this apply online? Social media is a primary form of online communication, encouraging the sharing of ideas and information. Over the years, its usage has grown exponentially but although it has many benefits, there is now also increasing talk of its challenges. In this week’s blog, we explore this further…


The Benefits:


Breaking Barriers to Distance

It opens the opportunity to stay in touch and establish relationships with people from all over the world. Whatever the time or place. This could be particularly useful if you are living alone or in need of speaking to someone at a specific time.



This could be particularly liberating if you feel stigmatised by a condition or circumstance. It can encourage the sharing of personal experiences which could educate or help others.


Combatting Loneliness

For individuals with disabilities or busy schedules, social media can provide a convenient and accessible way to communicate with others. It can alleviate feelings of isolation and offer a sense of belonging to virtual communities.


A Platform for Education and Awareness

Anyone with access to the internet can share their stories, offer insights and advocate for causes such as mental health. With so many people using social media, it elevates voices that may not normally be heard.


The Challenges:


Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

Excessive social media usage can have a negative impact on mental health, with the constant need for validation through likes, comments, and followers being mentally exhausting.


Higher Emphasis on the Superficial

Although you can connect with many people, how many of these connections are meaningful? Social media places emphasis on factors like the number of friends, praise, and one’s image, this can result in feelings of anxiety and insecurity, particularly if you compare yourself to others. It has also been associated with lower self-esteem.


Risk of Cyberbullying

 Cyberbullying is much more difficult to escape than its counterpart, especially since we spend most of our time online. Any comments can be witnessed by a much larger audience which could further expose you to humiliation, which makes it more difficult to prevent, consequently causing detrimental effects on mental well-being.



Have you ever felt discomfort when you are away from your phone? With content being constantly uploaded, it is easy to fear you are missing out when you log off or take a break. Studies have even identified a new psychological disorder where you may feel or hear the ringing or vibration of your phone, despite that not actually being the case.



Social media can have both positive and negative effects on mental health. It can provide valuable connections, support, and awareness opportunities, but it also carries risks related to excessive use, superficiality, cyberbullying, and privacy. To maximise the benefits and minimise the drawbacks, it is important to educate yourself and others on using social media mindfully, set boundaries, seek support when needed, and be aware of the potential negative consequences on mental well-being.



Find out more about World Mental Health Day here.




Pros & cons: impacts of social media on mental health by Ágnes Zsila and Marc Eric S. Reyes

Objective Self-Awareness by The Decision Lab

Social media and mental health challenges by Kalpana Srivastava et al

Social Media and Mental Health: Benefits, Risks, and Opportunities for Research and Practice by John A. Naslund et al

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