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#JamesDonaldson On #MentalHealth – Protecting Young People’s #MentalHealth In The #SocialMedia Era

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BY MERCEDES WILLIAMS AND CASEY BORTNICK

The U.S. Surgeon General is raising the alarm over young people’s #mentalhealth. He’s issued an advisory calling for swift action to respond to what he calls a growing crisis.

The surgeon general’s office says the number of #teens who had a major depressive episode nearly doubled between 2010 and 2019. The number of high schoolers who seriously contemplated #suicide rose nearly six percent during that same time.

During a visit to a #highschool this week, Dr. Vivek Murthy emphasized that these numbers were from before the #pandemic and things have gotten worse.

“We’ve had rates of #suicide increase among our #children, and for many kids during the #pandemic feelings of #anxiety and #depression worsened, and #loneliness as well,” Dr. Murthy said.

Dr. Murthy says it would be a tragedy for us to beat back one public health crisis to only allow another to grow in its place.

The surgeon general says #socialmedia activity is also contributing to the issue. While connecting online can be helpful to some, what we’re exposed to can be just as hurtful. It’s why Congress has been focusing on #socialmedia, specifically #Instagram, and the impact on young users.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

A whistleblower says that the social network’s own research showed #Instagram to be toxic for #teen #girls, leading to body image issues and even suicidal thoughts.

This week, the head of #Instagram faced the senate to defend the company.

“Your company viewed losing #teen users as an existential threat, whereas #parents are viewing their kid’s addictions to your product and other products as an existential threat to their family. The #parent knows best for their #teens so the appropriate amount of time should be a decision by the #parent about a specific #teen,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.

#Instagram leaders suggest that there should be an industry body that comes up with best practices when it comes to safety.

Along with pressure from senators, a bipartisan group of state attorney’s general launched an investigation into the potential harms of #Instagram for #children and #teens. The company claims the allegations are false.

Spectrum News 1 recently spoke with a New York #psychiatrist, who said its possible prolonged exposure to #socialmedia can lead to #anxiety, #depression and other issues. But that not all #socialmedia is bad.

Moderation is key and it’s on #parents to be part of the solution and set limits on their child’s screen time.

“You know your kid if your kid can, you know, tolerate looking at other people’s videos and know kind of what’s attainable what’s not attainable,” Crystal Run Health #Psychiatrist Lisa Batson said. “Okay great, I mean they shouldn’t still be on it all the time, but they might not be as much of an issue as somebody that’s a little bit more insecure and more affected by that.”

This week #Instagram also rolled out a new tool called “Take a Break.” It includes an alert that users can turn on after using the app for a certain amount of time. The goal is to make it easier for people, especially #teens to spend less time on the platform.

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