There are countless stories of the impact of social media on mental health. Some say it’s isolating, but others speak of the helpful effects of social media platforms. The internet can be used for multiple reasons: memes, relationships, shopping, games – but what about support? Real people face real problems and use apps like Instagram to connect with others and get support, confidence, and reassurance.
Social platforms can be used as a journal, documenting life events and sharing them with hundreds and thousands of people. These events can be beautiful, like a wedding attended by family and friends or a concert by a top artist. They can also be tragic, like the story of someone’s battle against disease or the rehabilitation of an addict. Sharing these moments makes a huge impact on others; superficial likes can become motivators to keep going.
Emotional support is gained through the small connections made through social media. Finding just one person that shares an obscure interest with someone can keep them from giving up their passion. Not everyone lives in a diverse area with quirky shops and hot yoga classes. Isolation could just as easily occur when someone doesn’t have anyone to share their interests with, it is not exclusive to social media. However, social media can make isolation dissipate as users are exposed to an entire world of varying ideas.
Apps like Instagram offer communities focused on specific topics. These communities come together and support each other through tough times. Many people are depressed with working their 9-5 jobs, then going home and paying bills so that they can struggle to live off pennies until their next payday. There are groups full of people that gave up their day jobs in pursuit of their passions, and they live happier lives because of it. Interacting with people who have success stories, and unsuccessful ones can motivate someone to take the leap and go after their dreams. These are lessons learned from experienced users that share their dos and don’ts with possibly inexperienced but interested people.
Even without joining groups, even just posting a picture each day can keep someone going. It gives them something to look forward to – an event that they know will be a positive one. Likes can become precious to someone that feels like they have nothing else. Some people buy Instagram likes to ensure they’ll get reactions on their posts, guaranteeing they will be seen and heard by more than just themselves. Instagram is all about sharing, and humans need to share – this is the great thing about the internet. Everything can be shared, and at least one person will interact in some way, shape, or form. Someone alone in life can have tons of friends online, and thousands of followers.
This following provides hope, friendship, and happiness. Instagram lets others show themselves in ways they may not be able to in the real world. Users can gain self-confidence, motivation, faith, courage, support, and exposure. Social platforms are not just superficial, they can save lives.