To honour Mental Health Awareness Week, a recent study has found that social media may be ruining some of life’s most important events. Bupa Health Clinics carried out a countrywide survey in over 2,266 UK adults in April 2019 to find out how social media is affecting the way people feel about major life events.
The main finding was that 10% of respondents have been unhappy about a particular event or significant moment in their lives as a direct result of social media sites. In addition to this more than one in ten people (13%) have even avoided posting pictures on social media because they felt that their experience wasn’t as good or didn’t look as good as other people’s.
The research found that the people surveyed admitted they felt upset or down when they compared their experience of a milestone to someone else’s on social networks. This is just another in a long line of examples including body image, self-esteem, depression and anxiety that social media appears to be influencing. The idea behind this research is that people are having celebrations for certain milestones such as their 21st birthday, graduation or baby shower and the experience for them is ruined because “it doesn’t look as good as what was posted by someone else recently”.
There is perhaps a deeper lying issue with this in that there are feelings of insecurity, by wanting to fit in and social media sites enhance this by encouraging an almost “artificial” lifestyle that is causing the aforementioned mental health issues. In a fast moving, on-demand society where people are almost forced to try and fit into a societal mould because they think it is what people want and like to see. This causes a situation where people feel that their own personal “big moments” just aren’t big “enough”. Bupa Health Clinics’ medical director, Dr Arun Thiyagarajan explained:
“Social media can also have an impact on body image and confidence. Whether this is seeing constant weight loss updates or celebrities’ holiday snaps, it can have an effect on the way we view our own bodies.
“It is crucial to remember that what you see on social media may be an exaggerated version of reality.”
Dr Thiyagarajan continued: “It’s at this point, when you are feeling physically and mentally run down, that seeing someone else’s seemingly perfect experience of the same milestone can have an adverse effect on your mental health.”
So how is technology really helping those suffering with mental health issues?
The biggest thing that technology is influencing is the ability for people to use apps and software to either help understand what they’re going through or how to cope and connect with people that are having similar experiences. The main issue is that it is kind of paradoxical to use tech and mobile apps to try and help with mental health issues that are largely exacerbated by those very devices.
According to Mentalhealth.org.uk they have various different steps that people can use digital platforms for, to help them with their mental health struggles. This includes things such as E-therapy, Online self help and blended care which all take advantage of the internet’s connectivity to enable people to help themselves – which is extremely important in a time where there is such a strain on the NHS.
We are now at a time where arguably awareness around Mental Health is at an all-time high and the emphasis should no longer be around increasing awareness but ensuring that it is maintained and starting to address the major issues that are affecting millions of people worldwide. Technology has a massive part to play in this by ensuring that it is keeping up with the trend on supporting suffering individuals but also maintaining level responsibility in the use of platforms and devices across all industries.
We work across a number of businesses to provide effective bespoke software solutions to tackle modern day issues. To discover more of what we can do, get in touch with our team today.