It is an open fact across the globe that social media has taken control of our lives.
There are indeed positive features about the advent of social media like online learning, business but there are down sights to it which affects mental health. A lot of studies have found out that high social media use often result in poor mental health which may include the following;
LOW SELF ESTEEM
Social media use has resulted in some of the users having doubt about their capabilities when they see others’ profiles on social media. This puts unnecessary burden on individuals which may result in some of them going to shops solely for fitting on designer clothes then uploading photos on social media to be at par with those they envy. This has been affirmed by a 2015 study which found out that “regularly using facebook could lead to symptoms of depression if the user envies others.”
POOR INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
There are growing incidents of family members not interacting during gatherings as they are busy in social media sites. This makes it difficult to communicate and share family moments. Suicide cases and depression have been an end result because channels where one can share their feelings have been dented.
DISTRACTIBLE ATTENTION SPAN
Excessive involvement in social media platforms has resulted in some individuals being inattentive as they are solely focused on social media sites. This promotes recklessness and poor judgement to the extent of some people causing car accidents!
With social media use there is a fair share of disturbance in sleep patterns most commonly insomnia. Some users are so engrossed in use that they barely have time to sleep. The problem is further compounded by the fact that our mobile service providers have reduced internet rates during the night.
It’s time we pay particular attention to the use of social media and try to forge tangible personal relationships with each other. We need to use social media cautiously and have proper sleeping time of at least 8 hours. Companies should enact social media policies to counter this growing epidemic!
LGBTI+ POPULATION AND MENTAL HEALTH
Our previous discussion was centred on women as a vulnerable group to mental health problems and we will this week focus on the lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) population; another vulnerable group.
According to American Psychiatric Association, LGBTI people are more than twice as likely to develop mental disorder in their lifetime. Various research done has shown that depression and anxiety are the most common mental disorders among LGBTI community and they are 2.5 times more likely to experience them than the rest of the population.
In addition, the LGBTI people are more at risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm and also gay and bisexual men are four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual population. There has also been reported high substance use among LGBTI community compared to the rest of the population.
These statistics clearly highlight the grave situation that the LGBTI individuals are facing. A risk factor to the occurrence of mental disorders is the rampant stigma and discrimination on the LGBTI community. A study in Britain schools, did reveal that they experience homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. Because of the prejudice, many fail to open up about their sexual orientation which is a factor that strongly facilitates development of mental illnesses.
The high rate of substance misuse could be attributed to trying to cope with the prejudice and discrimination. There has been reported inaccessibility to health services by LGBTI communities which may impact the address of their mental health issues. Studies have shown that they have an affinity to using health services hence it is ideal to holistically avail them.
Instead of focusing on our differences in diversity, the focus should be on finding the best practices and support for diverse populations including LGBTI. It is an open fact that stigma and discrimination facilitates development of mental illnesses or perpetuates existing ones thus the need to reflect as a society!
WOMEN AND MENTAL HEALTH
March the 8th marked the International Women’s Day under the theme ‘balance for better”. “The Mental Health Series” would like to glorify all women and bring to the fore pertinent issues in relation to their mental health.
Women to a greater extent are affected by mental health problems more than men. Notably depression and anxiety are the commonest mental disorders that affect women. According to the World Health Organisation, depressive disorders account for close to 41.9% of disability from neuropsychiatric disorders among women compared to 29.3% of men.
Apart from gender specific determinants, a lot of socio-economic factors make women susceptible to having mental health problems. Women incur pressures from their many roles especially as single parents in many of the households. Gender discrimination in the workplace and political sphere, violence in various forms, sexual abuse, income inequality and poverty all account for the development of mental illness in women. Women also experience bullying in social media which as well can lead to lead to mental illness.
We all need to acknowledge the risk factors to mental illness that are peculiar to women and find ways to mitigate against them. Women often find it essential to seek health services and thus need to be encouraged to continue the feat as that will go a long way in helping women. We indeed need to balance for better the programmes that can empower women and serve as protective barriers from development of mental illness.
Women should have equal opportunities for economic growth, jobs and enabled to lead as that will augur well for their mental health. A worrisome issue in sport is the income inequality which renders women as inferior; has to be addressed as a matter of urgency!
There is need to nurture the mental health of women. It is nigh men reflect and do away with gender based violence. The effects of violence are far reaching hence the need to change for upliftment of mental health.
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