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3 Minutes Read

Social Media and Your Mental Health 

It’s become a bit of a cliche to rail against social media as the great ruiner of Gen Z and millennial mental health (as if the existential threat of the climate crisis, ever worsening income inequality, and structural discrimination and other forms of identity-based injustice have nothing to do with our generational malaise). However, the truth remains that social media can have a significant impact on your mental health — both positive and negative. 

Some of social media’s positive impacts include:

Social connection

Social media can help you to be in communication with people who are important to you — friends, family, and other people who share your interests. This can help to reduce loneliness and isolation, which are detrimental to your mental health.

Information and support

Social media can be a source of information and support for people who are navigating difficulties with their mental health. This can be particularly true for women and nonbinary people, as well as people of color whose specific experiences of mental health are not always well-represented in the medical establishment or popular discourse. There are many groups and pages on social media where people can connect with others who relate to what they are going through and offer support.

Creativity and expression

Social media can be a great way to express yourself creatively. Many people use it as an opportunity to perform music, share photography and other artwork, or disseminate creative writing. Connecting with others through your creativity can be a helpful way to work through difficult emotions and build self-esteem. Social media can also be a tool for exploring and shaping your sense of self. For example, trans people learning new ways to present themselves and be in their bodies from other trans people online, and then sharing that gender euphoria by becoming a resource for others too.

Then, there are also the negative impacts of social media. These include:


Social media can make it easy to compare yourself to others, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy or feed toxic cycles of negative self-talk. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming those posts from people who seem to be having perfect lives are representative of their whole reality, not a carefully curated slice. This can influence you to have an unrealistic standard of what “happiness” is and the role it should play in your life.


Extremely critical or hateful comments, exposure of personal information, and violent language or threats of violence aren’t just “online drama” — they’re cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. If you’re being targeted or harassed online, it’s important to distance yourself from those online spaces and reach out for help if needed.


Social media can be a major distraction, and it can be difficult to focus on other things when you are constantly checking your feeds. This can lead to problems at work, school, or in your personal relationships. Unfortunately, the resulting stress from those problems might make the distraction of social media even more enticing. The mini dopamine hit you get from liking a photo or laughing at a funny meme is way easier to achieve than improving your job or academic performance or mending a distant relationship, but, in the long run, it’s also less satisfying.

Making changes

If you find that social media is making you feel worse, try taking a break or limiting your use. Touch some grass, connect with people in real life, and focus on positive content and accounts that make you feel good when you are online. If you’re struggling to log off or remain concerned about the impact of social media on your mental health, consider talking to a therapist. Therapy can help you unpack how social media makes you feel and strategize ways to be online while protecting your mental health. We’re ready to help — click the button below to schedule a free phone consultation.


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