Does social media have a detrimental effect on mental health?

An interesting one, huh!

I'm currently undertaking a research project for my degree focusing on this question. This research focus is something I chose myself, initially inspired by the #WMHD (World Mental Health Day) hashtags circulating on Twitter on 10th October, and by my own use of social media and acknowledgement of how it affects my mind-set and wellbeing.

Social media is such a huge part of our lives now. You probably clicked on this blog post through Facebook or Twitter, where I was keen to share it. But have you ever found yourself feeling down/jealous/insecure/numb/self-loathing, having seen something on a social network site (whether that's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr)? My guess is that you have. And that's because I have - and do.

I am keen to look at both the negative and positive impact that social media has on our mental health and have so far I have come up with the following topics to perhaps look further into:

Negative impact of social media on mental health:
- Comparison to other people leading to feelings of inadequacy/low self-esteem
- Having more friends online than in "real life" leading to feelings of loneliness/isolation
- Cyberbullying
- Glamorisation of self-harm/mental illness
- The pressure to be perfect and present your self accordingly on your social media profiles
- Basing one's self-worth of the number of likes they receive on Facebook/Twitter posts/Instagram photos

Positive impact of social media on mental health:
- Finding people who are going through similar mental health issues and communicating with them, making you feel less lonely
- Raising awareness about mental health through viral videos, Twitter hashtags, blog posts etc
- For those who suffer with anxiety, the benefit of connecting with people online rather than having to meet them outside of the house
- Self-esteem boosts through posting selfies/fun activities that you've been doing and sharing them with peers
- Easier to talk about mental health through typing, rather than speaking, making it easier for those who suffer from mental illness to open up and seek help

I would really, really appreciate your thoughts on the above points, and anything else that you may think about the link between social media and mental health. If you are interested in this, or if you know you are prone to mental health issues, I would love if you could take a few minutes to fill out this anonymous survey which will aid me with my research, sharing your thoughts, opinions and feelings with me. And please share it with anyone you possibly can too!

Thank you my loves. X