University study finds social media break improves mental health

University study finds social media break improves mental health

By Mental Health reporter

It’s official - breaks from social media boosts your mental wellbeing.

Results of a new University of Bath study that asked participants to take a week-long break from social media found positive effects for wellbeing, depression and anxiety.

Asking people to stop using social media for just one week could lead to significant improvements in people’s wellbeing, depression and anxiety.

It studied the mental health effects of a week-long social media break. For some participants in the study, this meant freeing-up around nine hours of their week which would otherwise have been spent scrolling Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

Their results in the US journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking - suggest that just one week off social media improved individuals’ overall level of well-being, as well as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

For the study, the researchers randomly allocated 154 individuals aged 18 to 72 who used social media every day into either an intervention group, where they were asked to stop using all social media for one-week or a control group, where they could continue scrolling as normal.

The world has seen a gigantic increase in the use of social media in recent years, while at the same time there has been a massive increase in reports of anxiety and depression. The Post Mental Health Correspondent and our Editor Dawn Carey, the CEO of mental health charity In Charley’s Memory has been examining this in recent years and want Government action.

Lead researcher from Bath’s Department for Health, Dr Jeff Lambert said: “Scrolling social media is so ubiquitous that many of us do it almost without thinking from the moment we wake up to when we close our eyes at night.

"We know that social media usage is huge and that there are increasing concerns about its mental health effects, so with this study, we wanted to see whether simply asking people to take a week’s break could yield mental health benefits.

“Many of our participants reported positive effects from being off social media with improved mood and less anxiety overall. This suggests that even just a small break can have an impact.

“Of course, social media is a part of life and for many people, it’s an indispensable part of who they are and how they interact with others.

“But if you are spending hours each week scrolling and you feel it is negatively impacting you, it could be worth cutting down on your usage to see if it helps.”

According to the Mind, one in six of us experience a common mental health problem like anxiety and depression in any given week.

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