The pros and cons of being online for your mental health

Being online can have many benefits but will also bring many challenges to your mental health in particular with social media. It is important to get the balance right between your online and offline life.

The benefits of being online:

  1. A learning tool, to search for information on mental health problems, their symptoms and treatment options. For many this can be empowering, but always use trustworthy sites.
  2. Other people’s experiences can help validate your own experience and make you feel less alone.
  3. Connecting with other people, online communities and social media can help to provide peer support and space to talk about your symptoms, side effects of treatment and share support.
  4. Accessing treatment, find new tips to help manage your mental health and wellbeing such as health apps, support groups or local organisations.
  5. Challenge myths and raise awareness by sharing your experience. This can motivate other people to seek out support for their own mental health, blogging can be extremely useful.

The negatives of being online:

  1. Comparing yourself to others on social media can negatively impact your self-esteem and how you view life. Limit how long you spend on these sites.
  2. Feeling anxious or stressed from the pressure of constantly checking social media, learn to take a break and turn off notifications.
  3. Difficulty sleeping. Spending lots of time online before bed can disrupt your sleeping pattern and leave you feeling worse the next day.
  4. Enhances the feeling of loneliness, by not having anyone in person to connect with. The feeling of being isolated or envy of missing out. Not receiving likes or comments, or not being included in friends posts can also make you feel more alone and not loved.
  5. Feeling Overwhelmed. When you feel low, you will often feel the need to help others especially when using online support groups. Being a support to someone who’s going through a difficult time can also be very stressful and overwhelming and could affect your own wellbeing.

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