HOUSTON - The number of people reporting anxiety and depression is at an all-time high.
Lockdowns, restrictions, and fear of infection throughout the pandemic have forced many of us to spend more time at home and online. While many of us use social networks to interact with friends, family, and colleagues, others may use it as a way to avoid personal problems.
Mental health professionals are linking many of the mental health issues to social media, but Dr. Paula Durlofsky says it's how you spend your time on social media that determines the impact on your mental health.
"If offline, we're already dealing with depression, there is a chance that social media, at times, can magnify depressive symptoms and naturally can invoke envy or comparisons," says Durlofsky.
She says if you are emotional or upset that may not be the time to get online, instead turn to a trusted friend or family member. Also, try setting up virtual boundaries to limit the amount of time spent on social media.
"Don't make a social media check in the first thing you do when you get up in the morning because it could really set the tone of your day."
She adds that stress or depression could worsen around the holidays, so it's important to keep things in perspective.
"Most people on social media are only going to post and showcase their best moments, their best achievements, but in reality, no one's life is only good, everybody has ups and downs."
So as we work towards finding a healthy balance, we should also keep in mind, the good things that come along with social media.
"Follow accounts that are inspirational and motivational, you know that can be actually a great way to start your day. It's also a way to learn a new perspective, you know ways of thinking that can be really helpful," says Durlofsky.
Remember, if you do need more help or advice you can call the City of Houston's Mental Health Helpline at (713) 999-9442. It's open 7 days a week from 1 p.m.- 11 p.m. until Christmas.