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More Americans stepping away from social media during pandemic for sake of mental health

Scrolling through social media feed becoming stressful habit

DETROIT – Is scrolling through your social media feet stressing you out? Americans are finding it has become a stressful habit, and a new survey shows many are taking a step back from social media for the good of their mental health.

Andrea Koder said she’s had enough of the endless debates on social media.

“The comment sections just get bombarded with negativity and hate-filled comments, and that’s really hard to see,” Koder said.

She removed social media apps from her phone to limit her access and has scaled back on the people and organizations she follows.

That’s something mental health professionals said is a good idea as everyone experiences the stress of recent turmoil from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to racial injustices and political divisiveness over the upcoming presidential election.

“We have seen spikes in cases of anxiety, depression, suicidality,” said Ken Yeager, a psychiatrist at the OSU Wexner Medical Center. “We have seen spikes in use of mood-altering substances to cope.”

A new survey by Ohio State University finds more than half of Americans have changed their social media habits this year. One in five now make a point of taking breaks from social media, the study found.

“Take time to slow down,” Yeager said. “Take time to breathe.”

Yeager recommended reconnection with friends and family members, even if it’s over a phone call or video chat.

Koder said she’s now volunteering with community organizations, fostering shelter animals and focusing on positives.

“In reality, I feel like I’m around a lot of really good people,” Koder said.

Experts said if you take a break from social media but find you’re still feeling anxious or panicky or having trouble regulating your mood and connecting with others, it’s a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional for help.


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