Let’s Talk Mental Health

By March 8, 2024 Blog

Mental health among youth today is a growing concern. With the increasing pressure to succeed in academics, extracurricular activities, social media influence, and social life, many young individuals are experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. The stigma surrounding mental health issues can also prevent youth from seeking the help they need. Parents, educators, and healthcare professionals need to provide support and resources to address mental health concerns in youth and promote overall well-being.

An Increase in Mental Health Concerns

There has been an increase in mental health disorders among youth, which are prevalent globally. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders affect millions of young people. Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental health disorders affecting youth. Many factors contribute to the development of these disorders, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, trauma, and stress.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among young people worldwide. Factors such as bullying, social isolation, academic pressure, and family issues contribute to suicidal ideation and attempts.

Despite the high prevalence of mental health disorders among youth, access to mental health services remains a significant challenge in many parts of the world. Stigma, cost, and lack of resources often prevent young people from seeking help or receiving timely treatment.


The Impact of Social Media and Technology on Mental Health

The relationship between social media and mental health is complex and multifaceted. While social media platforms offer opportunities for connection, self-expression, and information sharing, they can also have negative effects on mental health. Here are some key points to consider regarding the impact of social media on mental health:

Comparison and Low Self-Esteem: Social media often presents curated and idealized versions of people’s lives, leading to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem among users. Constant exposure to carefully crafted images and lifestyles may foster unrealistic expectations and comparisons.

Cyberbullying: Social media platforms can be breeding grounds for cyberbullying, where individuals experience harassment, humiliation, and intimidation online. Cyberbullying can have serious consequences for mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation among victims.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): The constant stream of updates and notifications on social media can contribute to users’ fear of missing out (FOMO). Individuals may feel pressured to constantly stay connected and engaged with social media to avoid feeling left out or disconnected from their peers.

Negative Impact on Sleep: Excessive use of social media, especially before bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to poor sleep quality. The blue light emitted by screens and the stimulation from social media content can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia and fatigue.

Validation Seeking: Social media platforms often encourage users to seek validation and approval through likes, comments, and shares. Relying on external validation for self-worth can undermine genuine self-esteem and emotional well-being.

Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers: Social media algorithms personalize content based on user preferences and behaviors, creating filter bubbles and echo chambers where individuals are exposed to information and opinions that align with their beliefs. This can limit exposure to diverse perspectives and contribute to polarization and social division.

Positive Aspects: Despite the potential negative effects, social media also has positive aspects that can support mental health. It can facilitate social connections, provide access to support networks, raise awareness about mental health issues, and offer resources for coping and self-care.

Balanced Use and Digital Well-Being: Encouraging balanced use of social media and promoting digital well-being are essential strategies for mitigating social media’s negative impact on mental health. Setting boundaries, practicing mindfulness, cultivating offline hobbies and relationships, and being critical of online content can help individuals maintain a healthy relationship with social media.

Overall, while social media can have both positive and negative effects on mental health, it is essential to recognize the nuances of its impact and adopt strategies to promote digital well-being and resilience. Improving mental health in youth involves a multifaceted approach that addresses various aspects of their lives, including social, emotional, environmental, and cultural factors. 

Some Effective Ways to Promote Mental Health in Young People


Education and Awareness: Promote education and awareness about mental health issues among youth, parents, teachers, and community members. Reduce stigma surrounding mental illness by fostering open and supportive conversations about mental health.

Access to Mental Health Services: Increase access to affordable, accessible, and youth-friendly mental health services in schools, communities, and healthcare settings. Provide counseling, therapy, and psychiatric support tailored to the unique needs of young people.

Early Intervention and Prevention Programs: Implement evidence-based early intervention and prevention programs in schools and communities to identify and support at-risk youth. These programs can include mental health screenings, skill-building workshops, peer support groups, and resilience training.

Promotion of Resilience and Coping Skills: Teach youth resilience-building strategies and coping skills to navigate stress, adversity, and emotional challenges. Encourage positive coping mechanisms such as mindfulness, relaxation techniques, physical activity, and creative expression.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Promote healthy lifestyle choices that support mental well-being, including regular physical activity, nutritious diet, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques. Encourage youth to engage in activities that promote relaxation, enjoyment, and self-care.

Social Support Networks: Foster supportive relationships and social connections among youth by creating safe and inclusive spaces for peer interaction and emotional support. Encourage positive friendships, teamwork, and community involvement to combat social isolation and loneliness.

Family and Parental Support: Provide parents and caregivers with resources and support to promote positive parenting practices and family communication about mental health. Strengthen family bonds, encourage active listening, and create a nurturing home environment that values emotional expression and validation.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Address social determinants of health such as poverty, discrimination, violence, and inequity that contribute to mental health disparities among youth. Advocate for policies and programs that promote social justice, equity, and access to resources for all young people.

Media Literacy and Digital Well-Being: Teach youth critical media literacy skills and promote responsible use of digital technology to protect mental health. Encourage digital well-being practices such as setting screen time limits, avoiding cyberbullying, and maintaining a healthy balance between online and offline activities.

Cultural Competence and Diversity: Recognize youth’s diverse cultural backgrounds, identities, and experiences and tailor mental health interventions to meet their unique needs. Promote cultural competence, inclusivity, and diversity in mental health services and programs.

By adopting a comprehensive approach that addresses the social, emotional, and environmental determinants of mental health, we can support the well-being and resilience of young people and empower them to thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Resources to seek out help:

Your Compass Counseling Department
Youth Mental Health Resources Hub
Youth Mental Health Resources – NAMI California

“It’s clear there is no one-stop solution to the youth mental health crisis that is facilitated in part by social media. It’s up to all of us and our communities to push this forward. By collaborating and expecting each stakeholder to own appropriate responsibility for eliminating the harm they have control over, together we can support safe use so we can all enjoy social media.” –Mark Cloutier, Forbes.

“Today’s children and teens do not know a world without digital technology, but the digital world wasn’t built with children’s healthy mental development in mind. We need an approach to help children on and offline that meets each child where they are while also working to make their digital spaces safer and healthier. The Surgeon General’s Advisory calls for just that approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics looks forward to working with the Surgeon General and other federal leaders on Youth Mental Health and Social Media on this important work.” -Sandy Chung, M.D., FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics 

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About Compass 

Compass Charter Schools (Compass) is the Gold Standard in Personalized Learning for innovative, creative self-learners. We celebrate diversity & equity in our tuition-free public school – every scholar belongs in our tailored education programs: Online and Options home study. As one of California’s leading WASC-accredited virtual charter schools of choice, we nurture a curiosity for lifelong learning. Every TK-12 scholar and learning coach (our term for parents) is fully supported with in-house counselors, welcoming staff, and talented accredited teachers. Additionally, we are the only virtual Purple Star School in California and one of the few virtual AVID programs in the nation. Join our collaborative virtual learning community. Rise and Soar with our Firebirds – enroll with Compass today!

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