Mental health issues and some suicide cases have been linked to the internet. Studies suggest that addicted internet users are likely to exhibit depressive symptoms overtime.
In 2017, a 14-year-old girl, Molly Russell took her own life after viewing self-harm contents on her Instagram account. Her father believed the internet had a part in her death as he reportedly saw contents about self-harm and suicide on her Instagram account after her death.
In addition to depression and the risk of suicide, spending more time on the internet increases the risk of addiction, cyberbullying and being victimized of cybercrime.
In spite of these effects, the internet can still be used to improve one’s mental health in these ways:
1. Virtual therapy
Online therapies are increasingly new and so, experts are not totally convinced of its effectiveness. Nevertheless, online therapies are definitely still helpful especially with social distancing orders.
A virtual therapy involves therapeutic sessions between a client and a therapist through the cyberspace, particularly through texts or live videos. Virtual therapies save time, save cost and are easily accessible.
2. Virtual-based support groups
Psychologists highly recommend support groups for struggles with addiction, parenting and other personal problems. Self-help groups and support groups may be led by an experienced person or by a therapist.
With closed groups on Facebook and other social platforms, online support groups are feasible and easily accessible. Support groups can be organized by non-professionals and participants can remain anonymous. This reduces the fear of opening up.
3. Stress relief apps and resources
The internet is a great tool for stress and anxiety relief. This however depends on the usage as some researches reveal that the internet increases anxiety and stress levels.
The internet has apps that are dedicated to helping addiction, alcoholism and mental health. Other resources like blogs, music and videos are created specifically for mental health.