Is social media good for your mental wellbeing?


A post from our Project Manager @rosiehopes

Look at that girl. Isn’t she happy? Isn’t she bronzed and beautiful and glorious in that retro filter? Look! She’s even carrying balloons to celebrate how great her life is. How can we ever compare?

But, look a bit closer and you start to wonder, is it really practical to carry so many balloons on the beach? Could it be (gasp!) that she’s just doing it for the picture?

Those of us who live in the world of social media see images of seemingly perfect lives every day. It would be easy to beat ourselves up because we don’t look as good, or spend as much time at parties, or cook such exotic meals as the people we follow on instagram. If you’re having a bad day, seeing someone else having a brilliant one can make you feel even worse.

If you believe the hype, the online world can be a dangerous place for your mental wellbeing.

But, we know that social media has the power to connect us.  We know that there are people who have never told anyone about their mental health problems in real life, but share their deepest thoughts on twitter. Social media is a powerful tool in fighting the stigma of mental ill health.  Our Mind Waves community correspondents talk about the vital life line of an internet connection when they’ve felt too unwell to leave the house, and of the massive confidence boost of seeing their  blogs published. And then there’s the cat pictures, always reliable for a pick-me-up.

So, what’s the trick? There are countless articles on staying safe online, but for me it comes down to a simple mantra: don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides. Remember that what people, all of us, post online is an edited version of ourselves. Who knows, maybe that girl is actually running away from those balloons.


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