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Wellness Wednesday: Social Media and Mental Health

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It’s now more challenging than ever to achieve and maintain optimal mental health in a world where advanced technology in the palm of your hand connects you globally in an instant. 

Despite the many benefits of social media various studies have estimated millions of people have developed behavioral addictions to social media.

“Researchers found that social media platforms, including Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok, were associated with an increased likelihood of depressive symptoms in adults who didn’t initially report depression,” Becky Upham of Everyday Health, says.

Digital addictions will only increase with advancements in technology such as the metaverse and VR (virtual reality) which are already here. Despite the many benefits that come along with advancements in technology, it does bring with it new levels of mental health challenges and addictions.

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The list of mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, attention deficit disorder, and many others may be amplified as technology becomes a more, and more immersive experience for users.

This new digital world we live in is not slowing down, only speeding up.

Interestingly enough, the metaverse has come up with some innovative ways to promote mental health. Counseling is currently available by way of virtual reality where therapists use VR goggles along with their patients, and they engage in exposure therapy which enables patients to confront fearful situations in a safe and contained environment. 

Nonetheless, attention is the new currency. The more we are glued to our screens, the more we are “paying” our attention. Attention is time, once spent it can never come back.  Technology allows us to now connect anywhere in the World in an instant-but sometimes the price is we are less connected to those right next to us.                              

The responsibility to balance out how we engage with and utilize technology in a healthy way is no small task, especially when algorithms are working day and night to keep us engaged. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re experiencing any of the negative effects of what comes with this new digital world. 

Words by Kaba Abdul Fattaah.

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