Demystifying the Co-relation Between Social Media and Mental Health in COVID 19

Social Media

Social Media

Despite an increase in the user capacity of Facebook and Twitter, mental health is the major issue of the world.

As the COVID 19 outbreak struck the world, the people are rendered to work from home. This means that instead of socially communicating in an organizational set-up, employees are now forced to rely on social media platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google for communication. To curb the impact of coronavirus, people are engaging in the utilization of digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, so that the social distancing norm can be maintained.

However, despite that, no redemption has been observed with the increasing number of mental health cases. Proportionality can be observed between an increase in the amount of social media usage and a surge in mental health problems globally.

 

Parallelism Between Social Media Use and Mental Health cases

On April 2020, the CEO of Facebook announced in one of his posts that Facebook had garnered more than three billion people, who are now connected. In the same post, he stated, that owing to the COVID 19 lockdown, all over the world, Facebook has observed an increase in the amount of its usage as compared to its competitors. His post read, “For the first time ever, there are now more than 3 billion people actively using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger each month. That includes 2.6 billion people using Facebook alone, and more than 2.3 billion people using at least one of our services every day.

The other famous social media website, Twitter has also reported that there has been a surge of 34% jump in daily active users for the  Q2 of the year 2020.

However, a study by Mental Health America has found that, due to COVID 19, the maximum number of depression and anxiety issues have been registered globally. In the USA, the cases reported for depression and anxiety were 74% and 65% respectively. The report also states that more than 18,000 people are screened to be at risk of psychosis. The study cited that the primary reason for increased mental health issues was “Loneliness and isolation”.

In the United Kingdom, a report published by Office of National Statistics states almost 19.2% of the adults suffer from depression, which has nearly doubled from around 1 in 10 (9.7%) before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020). It also states that one in eight adults (12.9%) developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, while a further 6.2% of the population continued to experience this level of depressive symptoms; around 1 in 25 adults (3.5%) saw an improvement over this period.

This statistics is not limited to the UK or US; however, around the world, mental health issues are becoming prevalent day by day.

Even though the reports did not specifically mention social media to be the sole reason for a surge in mental health issue, parallelism can be drawn that as the users and subscribers of social media services have increased, so does the patients of mental illness.

 

Increase in use of Social Media and Mental Health

The Florida Behavioural Health Centre cites that People who are engaged with social media are 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than those who are not utilizing it. The centre states that increased use of Social media, can inflict a feeling of Fear- of- Missing- Out (FOMO) amongst individuals, thus terming the disease as Facebook Depression. The survey done by the centre states that an increase of more than 7% has been observed for cyber-bullying, which has rendered people to also engage in substance abuse.

In a report, the Centre of Disease Control has found that in the USA, the prevalence of depression and anxiety was thrice than that of the second quarter of 2019, with a surge of 25.5% from 8.1%.

 

Conclusion

Though no significant reason has been mentioned in the above reports, which would signify that social media is the reason for the increase in the deformity of mental health, but as the tech giants are making money, and gaining users, an alternative reality that can not be denied is the surge in several mental health cases.