Teenagers have always had it hard. Adolescence is a period of insecurity, self-doubt, risk taking and finding out who they are and whose company they enjoy. It was already this hard before social media came about! Now we have to consider that the teens in our community are going through this rough period of adolescence, while feeling the pressure to ensure that the online world knows their lives are amazing. Even when they’re not.

Social Media Use and Teen Depression on the Rise

What the Data Says About Teen Depression

In recent data published by the Millennium Cohort Study it was shown that our female teen’s lives are being put in danger more and more for every hour spent on social media. It was shown that 40% of female teens that spend 5 hours or more on social media each day showed symptoms of teen depression. Five hours a day on social media may seem a bit unfathomable however it can definitely add up to be a realistic amount of time for any teen. This is an amount of time that can build an addiction fast, and easily send someone spiralling. It has been warned that youth as young as nine are becoming addicted to ‘likes’ as a form of social validation that makes them happy, and many are increasingly anxious about their online image and ‘keeping up appearances’. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat can make youth feel inferior to the people they follow and the content they see. These feelings of inferiority can lead to even worse feelings and affected youth may start to get feelings of teen depression.

Who Is At Fault For The High Numbers of Teen Depression?

The fact is that we cannot blame the social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat alone for the mental health problems or teen depression social media contributes to. There is definitely a wider range of variables that contribute to the negative side effects of social media. I’m Enough is an online and offline resource that aims to help tackle the range of variables that does in fact contribute to teen depression, while educating youth about the realities of the online world. One of the main realities being IT IS NOT REAL! The things that youth see online should not affect them so much because they never know what is actually happening in someone’s life or head at the time of filming an Instagram story or making a social media post. It’s not going to work to simply take away the phone or social media account of a young person. We have to think big picture, into the future, and educate them on the things that will help them to not feel bad about seeing a nice picture a friend posted and instead give them the tools to see a picture, acknowledge it, be happy for their friend, and move on.

Where to Start If You Are Concerned About Someone Suffering From Teen Depression?

If you need immediate help, go here to access our list of contacts that can help you or the person you care about. If you are looking to educate yourself more on combating the effects of social media on youth, check out our online database of videos to help you. Remember, you are enough. You are so enough it is unbelievable how enough you are.

Emergency and help lines


Anxiety phone line – 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)

Mental Health Crisis Helpline

Mental Health Crisis Helpline - 0800 800 717


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

Website Address

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


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


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

Website Address
Suicide Crisis Helpline

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

Sexuality or gender identity helpline

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

Website Address
Supporting Families in Mental Illness

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825.

Mental health services – Ministry of Health

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