National Institutes of Public Health study finds social media was a major stressor during pandemic

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it. People of all ages are using social media. And during the pandemic that was the main way a lot of us stayed connected.

But it could be leading to more mental health problems.

Joseph Garcia is the executive director of Cristo Rey Community Center in Lansing. He says licensed therapists there provide mental health services to people regardless of income. They say anxiety is on the rise.

“Something as basic as a person coming in with an upset stomach that we can determine they have an ulcer, ulcers can be easily treated. But then it’s the why. Why did that occur? And many of it when you start drilling down we determine they spend a lot of time on social media,” said Garcia.

A study published by the National Institutes of Health says social media could contribute to mental health problems.

“We’ve seen social media utilization go up substantially in our population, not only with kids but also with young adults and parents,” said Dr. William Beecroft. He is the Medical Director of Behavioral Health at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

He says using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ultimately changes the way our brains work.

“You have a situation you really have no control over or understanding of who these other people are just their online presence. You really don’t have a one-to-one relationship in real-time then their opinion makes a difference.”

Using social media lets us stay connected, but Dr. Beecroft says it can lead to bullying, negative self-talk, and even body dysmorphia.

Dr. Beecroft and Garcia say if your self-esteem feels low due to negative self-talk using social media, instead spend time on sites that inspire you or seek professional help immediately.

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