As the use of social media by adolescents has risen over the last decade, the rate of suicide among younger people has also increased, with suicide now becoming the second major cause of death among those aged 10 to 34. Many have indicated that the high suicidal risk is motivated by social media, but since social networking is still relatively new, its long-term impact on mental health has been difficult to ascertain.

BYU research recently published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence which is done by Coyne and now provides some insights in the longest analysis to date on how the excessive use of social media is linked with suicidal tendencies.

 

sucide and social media 

 

Key findings- Social media and the internet among the leading causes of depression:                    

The defining moment was at age 13, where girls began using social networking sites two to three hours a day, with the use rising over time. It was stated that the social patterns of girls are likely to make them more vulnerable to the harmful effects of social media.

“We’re not 100% sure why. But girls are really finely attuned to relationships, and they tend to internalize relationship distress at higher levels than boys,” Coyne stated

As for the teenage boys, the study found that cyberbullying was one of the only determinants of a higher risk of suicide in them which was particularly common in video games. As far as social media is concerned, there was no rise in risk for teenage boys due to increased usage of social media.

Moreover, the suicidal impact was not because of the number of hours spent on the internet, but also whether the media is used actively or passively.

If you use your phone on active ways, like if you blog, if you write, depressive symptoms appear to decrease. However, If you’re passively using your phone, which is how so many of us use our phones, where you only browse, navigate and scroll, that appears to be connected to elevated amounts of depression.

 

sucide and social media

 

Three ways to ensure your children’s mental health: 

  1. Communicate with your teenage Children:

One of the first things that parents can do to avoid the risk is to really speak with teenagers about how the internet can affect their mental health which leads to the risk of suicide. Parents must communicate about the repercussions of excessive social media with their kids, even teachers should do this with their students.

Families should begin with what Coyne calls a “family media schedule” and make sure you use a lot of your own feedback from your teen.

  1. Restricting the usage of social media:

It is recommended in the study that parents can restrict the social networking time of young teens to about 20 minutes a day, retain access to their pages, and speak regularly with teens regarding what they see on social networking sites. Teens will gradually scale up their usage and autonomy of social media over time.

Coyne said that with her own 13-year-old, she is applying what they studied in the research to home life. Like most teens out there, her daughter loves TikTok; she loves making short dance videos, and everything like that. But we’re trying to restrict it to 15 to 20 minutes a day or so. For what she needs to do or wants to do, that seems to be adequate. And she’ll probably grow over time too.

One important thing to note here that it is not recommended that parents prohibit social media altogether which can reflect badly by leaving them poorly equipped to control their use of the media as adults.

  1. Educate your teens for safe usage of social media:

The objective is to educate them to be safe social media users, to use it in a way that makes them feel confident about themselves, and to interact with other people which would be their real intent. It is the responsibility of parents to construct knowledge or pre-arm children so that they would deal with some of the tough stuff that sometimes comes with social media.

 

suicide and social media 3

Wrapping it up

Social media is a blessing but only if people use it properly. It can be a pleasant experience for teenagers and individuals of any age.

It was also found out that in particular, media use gets a lot of criticism and can be a scapegoat for the issue of mental wellbeing and rising rates of suicide. Whereas the study showed that while there are some concerns, but at the same time, social media can be really important.

Despite the problems that come with it, all types of media are a means of communicating with people and connecting, feel like they belong, and feel less socially isolated.

Coyne said that she would love for each BYU student to be aware of the ways they use social media, how it benefits their mental wellbeing, and how it harms their mental health. And then just to stop doing the harmful stuff, whatever it is. She thinks it might have a huge influence on our culture.

Emergency and help lines

APP – MyRivr
Description:

Everyone knows someone in need, whether it's a family member, a school or work friend, an associate or someone that you meet as you are going about daily life. Perhaps you do not know where to find help. MyRivr uses your location details to be able to provide you with the exact service providers close to you should you need support or need a nearby agency.

About MyRivr

As an ex-cop and gang member, Akerei (Rei) Maresala-Thomson has spent time witnessing the struggles and challenges of the New Zealand community

After 12 years serving with the NZ Police, Rei resigned from his role as Senior Sergeant in Charge of the Pacific, Ethnic and Asian portfolio for Counties Manukau in March, 2017.

He has made it his mission to continue confronting issues, and trying to improve Pacific wellbeing in NZ – but this time he is using technology.

Rei is now the Technical Advisor for free app MYRIVR, a self-funded and volunteer managed concept from the community which was developed and released in 2015 by Corefusion Limited as MASA (Multi-Agency Services Application) to assist in a successful trial with Counties Manukau Police.

MYRIVR is now NZ’s largest in-app directory of community services, enabling visibility and instant access to more than 20,000 helpers and over 7,000 health and social services around the country.

Website Address:
New Zealand Police Call in emergency 111
Description:

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Website Address:
Kidsline
Description:

Kidsline is New Zealand's original telephone counselling service for all kids up to 14 years of age. Kidsline operates from 4pm to 6pm Monday through to Friday. When kids ring they will speak to a Kidsline buddy – a specially trained teenage telephone counsellor.

Website Address:
Youthline
Description:

Need support or want to talk? Contact Youthline.

Free Text 234

Email: talk@youthline.co.nz

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Lifeline
Description:

Lifeline's telephone counselling service provides 24 hour a day, 7 day a week counselling and support. Calls are confidential and free and you will speak to a trained Lifeline counsellor.

Phone: 522 2999 (within Auckland)
Phone: 0800 543 354 (outside Auckland)

Website Address:
Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
Description:

Information for parents on creating a safe online learning and social environment for your children at home.

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Netsafe Cyberbullying
Description:

Information and advice about cyberbullying for young people, parents and teachers.

Website Address:
Police Kia Kaha bullying programme for schools
Description:

Kia Kaha is a school-based programme that aims to help schools create environments where all members of the community feel safe, respected and valued, and where bullying cannot flourish.

Website Address:
Depression helpline
Description:

Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions).
This includes includes The Journal online help service.

Website Address:
Depression helpline
Description:

An online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed.

Website Address:
Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

Provides confidential telephone support.
Helplines for children and young people

Website Address:
Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm.
Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Website Address:
Depression Helpline 24 hours a day
Description:

Depression Helpline (8am to midnight) Phone: 0800 111 757

Samaritans Phone: 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline Phone: 0508 828 865

Alcohol and Drug Helpline
Description:

Alcohol and Drug Helpline – 0800 787 797 or online chat

Website Address:
Family Violence Helpline
Description:

Are You OK – 0800 456 450 family violence helpline

Website Address:
Gambling Helpline
Description:

Gambling Helpline – 0800 654 655

Website Address:
Anxiety
Description:

Anxiety phone line – 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)

Seniorline
Description:

A free information service for older people
Phone: 0800 725 463

Wellbeing Service
Description:

0508MUSICHELP – The Wellbeing Service is a 24/7 online, on the phone and in-person counselling service fully funded by the NZ Music Foundation and provided free of charge to those in the Kiwi music community who can't access the help they need due to hardship and other circumstances. Call 0508 MUSICHELP.

Domestic abuse helpline
Description:

Shine – 0508 744 633 confidential domestic abuse helpline

Smoking cessation help
Description:

Quit Line – 0800 778 778 smoking cessation help

Vagus Line
Description:

Vagus Line – 0800 56 76 666 (Mon, Wed, Fri 12 noon – 2pm).
Promote family harmony among Chinese, enhance parenting skills, decrease conflict among family members (couple, parent-child, in-laws) and stop family violence

Women’s Refuge Crisisline
Description:

Women's Refuge Crisisline – 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE) (for women living with violence, or in fear, in their relationship or family)

Shakti Crisis Line
Description:

Shakti Crisis Line – 0800 742 584 (for migrant or refugee women living with family violence)

Rape Crisis
Description:

Rape Crisis – 0800 883 300 (for support after rape or sexual assault)

Website Address:
Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Canterbury and West Coast
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Canterbury and West Coast – 03 379 8415 / 0800 899 276 (1pm to midnight, seven nights)

Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Wellington
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Wellington 0800 200 207 (7pm–1am, Tuesday to Sunday)

Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Auckland Central
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Auckland Central 0508 927 654 or 0508 WARMLINE (8pm to midnight, seven nights)

Mental Health Crisis Helpline
Description:

Mental Health Crisis Helpline - 0800 800 717

Depression
Description:

Depression and anxiety affects us all differently.
Free 24/7 Helpline: 0800 111 757 Text 4202

Website Address:
Lifeline
Description:

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline
Description:

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans
Description:

Whatever you're going through, call us any time on 0800 726 666.

Website Address:
Suicide Crisis Helpline
Description:

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Kidsline
Description:

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

thelowdown.co.nz – Phone: 0800 111 757 or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

Website Address:
Supporting Families in Mental Illness
Description:

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825.

Mental health services – Ministry of Health
Description:

We all face challenges to our mental health at various times in our lives. The way we’re feeling can change how we think and how we deal with tough times.

There’s a range of resources and services available to help including phone and online services and information, as well as face-to-face support.

Most services are free and provide information and confidential advice from trained professionals. There's also information for family, whānau, or friends if they need advice and support.

If you’re told that there is a waiting time for a service, please still reach out and make contact. Other supports can be put in place – ask what you can try in the meantime.

 

Helplines for children and young people

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to talk to a trained counsellor.

To talk to a trained counsellor 24/7 call the Depression helpline – 0800 111 757.

To get help from a registered nurse 24/7 call Healthline – 0800 611 116.

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.

What's Up  – 0800 942 8787, (for 5–18-year-olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, 1 pm–10 pm and on weekends, 3 pm–10 pm. Online chat is available from 7 pm–10 pm daily.

Website Address: