Depressive Pastime? Social Media's Toll on Mental Health


What is Depression?

A mood disorder

Causes sadness and loss of interest

Affects one's ability to carry out daily activities

Who Does it Affect?

Affects all people of all ages

Women affected more by depression than men

Severe cases of depression can lead to suicide

Why is it Important?

Depression is on the rise

More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS

Over 50% of people who die by suicide suffer from major depression.

Suicide: The Facts

800,000 people die because of suicide each year

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year- olds

It is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Suicide Rates

Suicide rates over time

Age adjusted suicide rate in 2014 was 24% higher than the rate in 1999

A Closer Look

Adolescent suicides from 2007-2014

The suicide rate for middle-school aged children doubled from 2007 to 2014.

Shocking Discovery

Causes of adolescent deaths per 100,000

It was the first time where more adolescents died from suicide than by car accidents.

Fuel Behind the Fire


Current Depression Rates

Antidepressant use over time

Depression rates have been climbing over the last few decades. Usage statistics of antidepressants clearly shows that depression has been increasing almost linearly.

Females are More Depressed

problematic mobile phone use among young people has been linked to depressed mood.

Adolescent Depression

Prevalence of Major Depressive Episodes (MDE's) in adolescents (A) and young adults (B)
What is the root of the problem?
Social Media

Social Media Usage Over Time

The significant increase in social media usage over the last ten years is analogous to the depression and suicide rate increases over the same time period.

Almost All Young Adults Use Social Media

The percent of young adults using social media has increased from roughly 12% in 2005 to 90%, and climbing, in 2015.

Depression and Social Media Usage

"There was a linear association between social media use and depression"

Why is this the Case?

  • People with depression may use social media more
  • Exposure to highly idealized representations of peers
  • More likely to experience "fear of missing out" (FoMO)
  • Increased risk of cyber-bullying

Improving the Situation

Call to Action

Don't use social media "passively" (i.e. to view profiles)

more active users feel more engaged and derive more sense of social capital from social media interactions

Works Cited


Created with images by LoboStudioHamburg - "twitter facebook together" • Ryan_M651 - "Depression" • - "grey coot" • TeroVesalainen - "question mark hand drawn solution" • Fraser Mummery - "Noose from The Sex and Death Gallery" • PietG - "match matches sticks" • saragoldsmith - "roots" • TeroVesalainen - "smartphone screen social media" • Visual Content - "Social Media Mixed Icons - Banner" • Pexels - "call iphone log in"

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