Checking-in, commenting, posting, sharing: social media has made us experts at being connected. Whether it’s sharing a photo on Facebook, replying to someone’s tweet or recording a story on Snapchat, our first reaction to news - good or bad - is to reach for our phones to show and tell the world. 

Social media and mental health.

One of the causes is the rise of technology and I bet if you take a look around you now there will be people checking their social media feeds. It’s difficult to imagine a world where these sites didn’t exist.

One of the benefits of social media - and the advancement of technology - is the ease and speed at which we can communicate, engage and share information. And how we like to share!

How harmful is social media?

Last year in the UK, 63% of the adult population used social media on a daily basis. That figures shoots up to 91% for those aged 18-24.

Today, younger people are more likely to social network during their leisure time than listen to music or watch online videos and while the experience liberates some, for others it causes pressures.

Negative effects of social media.

A recent study showed how four of the five most popular sites were harmful to young people’s mental health. Respondents, who were aged between 14 and 24, said image-focused networks like Instagram and Snapchat had a negative effect on them and caused feelings of anxiety and inadequacy.

Confidence crushing comments on Instagram.

Other symptoms reported by people were problems sleeping, depression, loneliness, identity issues, bullying, body image and the fear of missing out.

These can have a crushing impact on people’s confidence, morale and ultimately their happiness and health.

The study matters because it shines a light on causes of mental that aren’t always easy to detect and what might seem normal behaviour - like scrolling through a Facebook feed - could be masking something debilitating and painful. 

Toll on mental health.

One in four people will experience some form of mental illness and the workplace can be a tough place to be during that time. At Randstad we don’t just find jobs for candidates but support them regardless of their mental wellbeing.

We know the value of speaking out and how a voice at the end of the line or a face in a coffee shop can be as powerful a tool as any social media site. 

Victoria Short, managing director, Randstad Public Services.