Too much time spent surfing the internet or lurking around social media sites can lead to a range of mental health problems. But if you use the Internet and mental health apps responsibly, they can help you improve your mental health. Here’s how.
1. The Internet Offers a Wealth of Information
While any self-diagnosis should always be followed up with a visit to the doctor, doing your own informational search in a quest for answers can be empowering. However, be sure you’re getting your information from reputable sources. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is an excellent place to start. The NIMH website has a collection of guides to help you understand a range of mental health disorders. The National Alliance on Mental Health is another great resource and includes a section on helping you make friends and manage your mental health in college.
2. Online Support Groups can Help Reduce Feelings of Isolation
Mental illnesses can lead to feelings of isolation if you’ve withdrawn from friends and family or struggle to relate to others. While engaging on social media may seem to help, it can actually worsen depression and anxiety and reduce self-esteem, according to an article published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. However, online support groups can make a positive difference in your life. Online support groups connect you to others with similar issues, and you can share stories, tips, resources, and emotional support. PsychCentral offers a database of safe, moderated online support groups and mental health apps to help you find the support you need -right when you need it.
3. Mental Health Apps and Other Tools Promote Healthy Mental Habits
From online counseling and support groups to diagnostic questionnaires and clever apps, the internet offers a wealth of tools to help manage mental health. Mental health apps include applications to help you cope with negative emotions, connect with therapists, keep a journal, relieve anxiety and stay mindful. You can also find medication guides, moderated communities and online courses that can help you manage mental illness and improve your mood.
Technology can help you take control of your mental health and find the collection of strategies that can help you feel better. However, it’s important to use the internet safely and responsibly and remember that it can’t replace your therapists, medications, or in-person relationships.