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Posts published by “Shari Botwin”

Social Media Dangers to the Human Psyche – the Cost/Benefit Dilemma

Shari Botwin 0

The first social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. Two years later, blogging sites took off. In 2002 Myspace quickly became the most popular site for teens. YouTube launched in 2005, and, shortly after that, Twitter emerged. As these different sites gained momentum, people were reeling from the benefits of social media while also blind to the long term dangers. Entrepreneurs were growing their businesses. Others were connecting with long lost friends from childhood, and many people were accessing information for their physical and mental health conditions. People living in dangerous and abusive relationships finally had resources to access help. Patients diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses could turn to their social media to find out the latest about medications and clinical trials. When Facebook launched in 2004, no one knew the potential dangers and pitfalls it would have on vulnerable populations, such as people struggling with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, loneliness, or lack of a strong support system. People began flocking to Facebook and other social media platforms to connect, spread, and seek information and support. But along with opening up a proverbial world of possibilities, the world itself had also opened Pandora’s Box. The world was smart enough to quickly realize the negative possibilities brought on by social media use in teenagers but unable to find effective ways to cope with them. Around 2017, psychologists conducted research, mostly among teens, to test the…

Mental Health Coping Resources in the Time of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Shari Botwin 0

How can someone find mental health support when many offices are closed or only providing teletherapy? While hospitals and other medical care facilities continue to see patients, mental health services have not been given the same priority. Peoples’ lives turned upside down when the pandemic hit the United States. Businesses were shut down, religious communities were torn apart, grieving families buried loved ones without others present, and children were forced to go to school online. Outlets people once turned to for stress reduction were no longer accessible. Treatment halted suddenly for people struggling with mental health issues; such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addictions. People dealing with a mental health crisis had little choice but to turn to emergency rooms which were overcrowded and under-staffed. Before Covid-19 our society was beginning to recognize the need for mental health support. COVID-19 Fallout A few months into the pandemic, Psychology Today and other mental health platforms suggested that our society was facing a “Post-COVID-19 Suicide Epidemic”. Suicide rates were sky-rocketing, and people from all different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds were reporting an increase in suicidal ideation. Major contributors were economic stress, social isolation, frontline healthcare workers, and loss of a loved one from COVID. Social isolation, in particular, was called out as a required COVID prevention approach, but one that exacerbated peoples’ abilities to combat depression and suicidal thoughts. Research has also shown the importance of social connections in helping people overcome depression and suicidal thoughts. While social distancing remains an important…