Mental health matters. | Teen Ink

Mental health matters.

March 28, 2023
By Anonymous

Social media takes a huge toll on teens today. Sometimes I go to sit down and watch tiktok or scroll through Instagram. All the pictures have been edited but it's still hard to look at those knowing some people can look like that. Teens need to take a break from social media and realize that there is nothing wrong with themselves. Some important conditions are body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and self-harm all caused by these platforms. Here are some of the ways that social media can affect teens and a possible solution to helping with their mental health.
One of the top effects on teens' mental health is body dysmorphia. This condition prevents seeing the good but only seeing flaws, and it's hard to change that. This can sometimes be caused by bullying online or even in person. Constantly catching looking in a mirror and worried about all of the ‘flaws' people think they have. I think this needs to be brought to more people’s attention to help kids and teens. We should preach to all kids of every age that everyone is loved and perfect in their bodies. That is hard for some kids to remember so we need to help find ways to learn to love ourselves. Learning alternate ways to handle urges or rituals to help reduce mirror checking, reassurance seeking, or excess use of medical services is one way to treat this according to the Mayo clinic diseases and conditions, stated in 2023.
Another one of the top mental illnesses is an eating disorder. Many kids already struggle with body image; adding this on top takes a toll on them. This can cause an additional condition called Anorexia which has many symptoms such as hair loss, engaging in food rituals, etc, constantly watching what to eat, etc. I think teens and even adults need help with this because it's very serious and hard to overcome. Some ways we could try to help is by making foods kids normally eat or like to eat and starting with that. Reassurance that no matter their size they are still loved the same. I think some kids feel that if they look different they will get treated differently. This is a problem that can be caused within the school system as well which has a big result in bullying. An eating disorder can come from about anything to school, home, friends, and especially social media.
Since everyone knows about eating disorders and body dysmorphia, one of the reactions to these conditions is self-harm. Teenagers naturally go to this as a sense of “comfort”. In 2020, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among those ages 10-24 and 25-34 stated by America's Health Rankings. This needs to come to an end. We need to make teens feel like they are loved and that they matter. I believe it’s hard for kids to understand that people do care about them. Providing a distraction for teens to forget about harming themselves is one option according to preventing self-harm education in 2018. One technique is to go to the hospital and if the urge to harm themselves after an hour is still there they are supposed to go register with a nurse. These are some ways hospitals and care centers try to prevent self-harm and save as many lives as they can.

All these conditions, now we need solutions. According to “Ten tips to boost your mental health” from 2023, one option is to stay as active as possible. Getting outside and playing all the sports people love, doing something crafty, or even baking a new treat. Therapy sometimes helps teens, but it can also be hard for them to open up, especially to an adult. We should have groups with teens that all struggle with the same thing. They could all sit in a small group and talk about their problems and help each other through them and try to resolve them. This would make them feel like they aren’t alone and people do care and want to help and listen to them. Feeling understood by people, and age could be a big first step to helping kids’ mental health. Another option could be to go completely rogue from social media. Since it was the cause of all of this for some people, Taking a break or anyone could even cut themselves off completely for a good amount of time definitely won’t hurt. Taking some time to heal and gain back all the energy it drained from social media took away from everyone.In conclusion, we know social media affects us, it drains us like a battery. There are many ways to stop the harmful effects it can have on anyone’s mental health and we just need to take charge and put ourselves first. I can look at social media now and know that I am perfect and loved just the way I am even if I’m not some famous Instagram model. Even if it’s hard for teenagers to realize that there is always someone willing to help them out, and to be reminded that everyone’s mental health matters.

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