Social media, technology among factors hurting the mental health of new graduates

Social media use and mental health
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 6:46 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - As students across southern Arizona wrap up the school year, there’s a new push to make sure soon-to-be graduates have the resources they need when it comes to their mental health.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s an important part of the year because the latest report from the state’s health department shows that 40% of students from 9th to 12th grade struggled with their mental health, especially during the pandemic. And within the past year, 25% say they have thought about taking their life.

Experts say social media plays a big part in all this. A new CVS Health study shows 60% of young adults say that social media has hurt their mental health. That’s compared to the 22% who are older.

With many high school students getting ready for graduation, it can be a stressful time for them. Health experts say seeing certain things posted by others on social media, such as college acceptance letters or job offers, can really impact how they feel, especially if their future plans aren’t the same.

“When that Gen-Z population sees this over and over they start feeling less engaged, more lonely and more self-critical,” said Cara McNulty, president of behavioral health and mental well-being at CVS Health. “So we’re seeing people have increased anxiety, increased depression and loneliness in a time where we should feel really connected. They’re feeling that they are different than everyone else. It’s a population that wants to be like others, wants to fit in, it’s a disconnect.”

Health experts want to stress that it’s not a bad thing to post or be active on social media. In fact, many have said that they’ve turned to technology to help them find mental health resources that are available.