Mental illness directly linked to technology

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

Today, one in five American adults su er from mental illness.

As mental illnesses affect an increasing number of people, a correlation has been found between the use of technology and the presence of mental illnesses in society.

However, some technology can improve mental health through online apps that offer counseling services.

Charissa Novasel, freshman psychology major, said there are some great ways technology can help those struggling with mental illness.

“Help lines and tips for mental care are spread throughout social media so more people today see it and can be extremely helpful in getting people to open up and move forward toward being happier and having healthier lives,” Novasel said.

A study at Duke University found that days adolescents use technology more frequently they experience more distressed feelings and added ADHD symptoms compared to the days they use it less.

Americans check their phones 300 times a day on average, which means that people are on their phones about every 12 minutes.

Although college classes are stressful and technology can sometimes help ease stress, it may have the reverse effect, too. Stressing about not getting a text reply or constantly checking the number of likes on a post can cause immense stress, feelings of rejection or self-esteem issues.

Recent nationwide studies by Medical News Today and the University of New Hampshire have found those who spend more time on social media have more feelings of loneliness and depression, as happiness seems to directly parallel one’s popularity in today’s culture.

As media is continuing to change, people no longer wait to receive a daily newspaper or for a friend to send a letter. Everything is received electronically and instantaneously, such as Instagram likes, Facebook comments or Twitter retweets. The need for immediate gratification can go unmet and cause worry to set in.

Social media could easily make many feel an overwhelming pressure to perfect their image.

Kimille Richardson, marriage and family trainee therapist said social media can create severe anxiety.

“What we consume in social media is influencing us in the way we dress, speak and behave,” Richardson said. “This influence has impacted our generation’s mode of operation in social settings so much that it has now manifested into a fear that if we do not adhere to and meet the gratifications of these social standards, we will all be condemned for it.

“This fear of judgment and social ridicule from our peers is social anxiety. When individuals feel that there is an inadequacy in any of their image or impact on others, the anxiety then becomes worse, making the individual feel that he or she is not good enough.”

A study by University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine found people who check social media habitually are 2.7 times more likely to develop depression.

College students are at increasing risk of anxiety and depression because of the standards set online: People question if their filter is perfect. There is stress surrounding being left out of a friend’s post on a beach day.

Cara Greenwood, senior nursing major, said she learned about ways to help fight against this stress through various psychology classes.

“Take time away from your phone, build in-person relationships and merely use technology as a tool.” Greenwood said.

“Don’t use social media to define your worth, or determine how you should live your life.”

This does not necessarily mean deleting Instagram or Twitter altogether, but rather changing behaviors to de- crease one’s emotional investment in online popularity.

Though technology and so- cial media have proven to be beneficial in the world today, using these outlets too often and relying on them for emo- tional validity can have severe repercussions.

As depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses are affecting more people, it is important to set time apart to prioritize one’s self and to stay away from activities that cause an unhealthy self-perception.

Although these studies have found a growing number of people a ected by mental illness, there are resources today to help those cope, and ultimately illuminate these sometime crippling illnesses.

Whether it is online therapy or counseling, there are many ways to limit anxiety and depression in ofline lives and remind people of their value.

As mental illnesses affect many people today, it remains important to create space spaces, such as CBU, where people can receive help without fear of being judged.

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