Dr. Keita Franklin of PsychCenral summarized findings from research on the impact of the Digital Age on suicide prevention:
Negative impact of the Digital Age
It is common for social media users to experience an increase in life dissatisfaction or poor self-esteem as they compare their everyday lives to the “highlight reels” of the lives of people they follow on social media.
The proliferation of online bullying, which can be kept secret from parents/supportive others, and can be anonymous, increases suicide risk for those without social support, or who feel isolated.
Extended time spent on social media has been positively correlated with the number of a person’s suicide risk factors.
Positive impact of the Digital Age
Empathic portrayals of people struggling with mental health can increase helpful dialogues and awareness of mental health, encouraging individuals to seek help when needed by reducing shame and modeling help-seeking.
Online users who will not discuss their mental health or suicidal thoughts in person may open up online, allowing them to get support or direct help they need.
The availability of telemental health (e.g., teletherapy) helps those in rural communities. This lowers the barrier of lack of transportation and helps prevent transmission of COVID-19.