This is how social media helped me deal with my mental health issues

I realized that I did not have to feel so alone when it seemed like someone was listening. Even if it was temporary, it was an outlet

Social media has been a major player in blasting open the conversation surrounding mental health. This week alone has seen millions of tweets of acceptance and support as those with mental health issues have shared their experiences on Twitter. Social media undoubtedly gives those who may ordinarily suffer in silence the freedom to share and open up about how they are feeling.

It’s well documented that social media can have a negative effect on a person’s emotional wellbeing. On the flipside, we know social media supports the mental health cause as a whole by bringing a taboo topic to the forefront. But does it help or hinder the individual who suffers daily?

That depends on the individual, of course.

I live with depression. I live with anxiety. I struggle to talk to people face to face as confidence issues set me back. I know my mental health is important so I talk about it. Or at least I do now. For a long time I didn’t. I suffered as many do, in silence – alone, unnecessarily.  more

Have Aspergers Syndrome? You’re 3X More Likely To Be Depressed.

It’s not unusual for people Asperger syndrome to be be depressed. Studies have varied somewhat, but generally the rate of depression of those with Asperger’s is over 3 times that of the normal population. Studies have suggested that 18% to 22% of those with AS have depression compared with 6.7% of the general population. The times of highest risk for depression are late adolescence and young adulthood.

Most of the research shows both genders have these high rates of depression. Non-autistic full siblings and half-siblings of individuals with ASD (not just Asperger syndrome) also had higher rates of depression than the general population, although at half the rate of those with ASD. Large studies haven’t supported genetics as an explanation for this increased rate of depression.

This tendency to depression is particularly true for those with higher intelligence and capacity for self-reflection who have awareness of their social difficulties. They often internalize their negative experiences and feelings of loneliness into their sense of self and their outlook for the future.

Studies of suicide attempts are also very troubling. In studies of suicide, the rate of suicidal thoughts and attempts are prevalent in those with AS, especially in adolescence and young adulthood.  more

Children’s lack of sleep is ‘hidden health crisis’, experts say

‘I know I will be so tired’: a teenager on living with insomnia

Thousands of children and teenagers face a mounting sleeplessness crisis, with the number of admissions to hospital of young people with sleep disorders rising sharply in six years, the Guardian can reveal.

Experts have described the problem as a hidden public health disaster, putting the surge down to a combination of exploding obesity levels, excessive use of social media before bedtime and a mental health crisis engulfing young people.

The Guardian analysed data from NHS Digital, the national information and technology partner to the health and social care system in England, revealing that admissions with a primary diagnosis of sleep disorder among those aged 16 and under has risen from 6,520 in 2012-13 to 9,429 last year.   more

Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids Are Not Alright

The first time Faith-Ann Bishop cut herself, she was in eighth grade. It was 2 in the morning, and as her parents slept, she sat on the edge of the tub at her home outside Bangor, Maine, with a metal clip from a pen in her hand. Then she sliced into the soft skin near her ribs. There was blood–and a sense of deep relief. “It makes the world very quiet for a few seconds,” says Faith-Ann. “For a while I didn’t want to stop, because it was my only coping mechanism. I hadn’t learned any other way.”

The pain of the superficial wound was a momentary escape from the anxiety she was fighting constantly, about grades, about her future, about relationships, about everything. Many days she felt ill before school. Sometimes she’d throw up, other times she’d stay home. “It was like asking me to climb Mount Everest in high heels,” she says.  more

How the Internet affects your mental health

These days, it seems like we live our lives on the Internet, but can excessive Internet and social media use impact your mental health?  While it’s a helpful tool for education, work, social interaction and entertainment, overuse can take a toll on your health, says Saju Mathew, M.D., a primary care physician at Piedmont.

Internet use and anxiety

Whether it’s from reading too much negative news or researching your symptoms online – something Dr. Mathew says he sees frequently among his patients – too much computer time can increase your anxiety.

“More times than not, it’s not a good idea to research your health symptoms online because the final outcome is a lot of unnecessary anxiety and worry. My overall advice is not to research your symptoms, but to see a doctor first [if you have a health concern].”  more