How does social media influence mental health?
Mental and behavioral health problems are characterized by changes in thinking, behavior or mood, in association with the anguish or deterioration of global psychic functioning. These problems are due to biological aspects associated with cultural factors and greatly influenced by society, and may be intensified by a predisposition of the individual(1). Mental disorders, comprar followers verdadeiros especially anxiety and depression, are one of the main causes of morbidity in today's society, compromising the daily activities of the individual, especially social relationships. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 350 million people in the world live with depression(2). The 2013 National Health Survey showed a prevalence of depression in 7.6% (95%CI 1.2 - 8.1) of the Brazilian adult population(3). Such figures have made mental health a public health priority.
The use of social media, such as Instagram, Facebook®, Twitter and YouTube, is a relatively recent habit, so it is still trying to understand the effects of this new form of social interaction in different populations. The increase in time spent using social networks is related to the feeling of isolation from the real world, which can contribute to the development of mental disorders(4). According to IBGE, 70% of the Brazilian population has internet access(5), in addition, Brazil is the second country that spends the most time per day on the Internet, being online on average 9 hours and 29 minutes per day teste, and 40% (3 hours and 34 minutes) of this time is used in social media(6) .
Cyberbullying is a big deal in today's society
The type of content published and consumed by users is even more impactful on mental health. It is known that many publications reinforce narcissism, living standards, consumption and status, so that they have contributed to the increase in the prevalence of various psychiatric disorders, including depressive symptoms, anxiety and low self-esteem(7-8).
In addition, the user also faces the famous "fake News", defined as fabricated information that mimics the content of the news media in form, but not in the process or organizational intention(9). The "fake News" impact on the mental health of the user of social networks, since they are designed with the intention of provoking a strong emotional response of the reader that enhances the possibility of sharing information, such as anger, fear, anxiety and sadness. Recognizing a news as "fake News" can also provoke feelings of anger and frustration, especially when the user begins to feel powerless in the face of frequent attacks of manipulation of public opinion through fake news(10-11).
It is also worth mentioning the exposure of individuals to cyberbullyng, a practice that has multiplied in social media. Anonymity and lack of privacy and security contribute to the spread of violence, which affects the mental health of the affected individual(12).
In an attempt to minimize possible impacts on the mental health of its users, some of the largest social media platform-maintaining companies have struggled to create barriers and strategies to prevent mental health problems. We can cite as an example the application "Instagram", which removed the view of the numbers of likes in order to reduce a "competition" and value the publication of materials with good content. In addition, when a user searches for the hashtags "anxiety" or "depression" seguidores brasileiros, the app displays a message offering help and referring them to a network that specializes in offering free and confidential emotional support. Facebook, on the other hand, has leveraged efforts to stop and raise awareness among the population about the sharing of "fake News."