Over half of Brits say they don’t feel they need to talk to friends in real life because they’re kept up-to-date with friends and families’ social media
Liking posts and commenting on social media pages have replaced having meaningful discussions with friends and family; over half of us say we do not need to talk to friends IRL (in real life) because we are kept up to date via social media, according to a new study.
Research this Time to Talk Day shows social media is affecting our ability to have deeper conversations with our loved ones. Despite having an average of 770 friends on social media, 18% of us say we wouldn’t be able to call upon any of those friends if we were struggling with our mental health.
The focus for Time to Talk Day this year is on having deeper conversations with friends and family instead of the ‘surface level’ conversations on group chats and social media.
Marium Zulfiqar, 22, who has bipolar disorder, said when she was at a low point, having a friend reach out beyond social media contact made a world of difference. “Social media can be an amazing, connective place but a ‘like’, or even hundreds of ‘likes’, can’t replace conversation. When I was at my lowest, I had a lot of people reach out on social media which I definitely appreciated, but the few friends that called me or met up with me made a world of a difference in my recovery. To know that they were there not just online but also offline was so comforting and healing. To literally have a shoulder to cry on is one of the best gifts I’ve received from my friends.”
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, which is run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, said: “We might think we know how our friends are doing because we’ve seen their latest post on social media. However, in a world where many of us only share our ‘best bits’ online we’re urging everyone to use Time to Talk Day as an opportunity to break down barriers and have real and meaningful conversations about their mental health.”
Frankie Bridge, who is supporting the campaign, said “I love social media but it’s easy to only share the ‘fun parts’ when there’s often a lot more going on behind the scenes. Last year I decided to be really honest with my followers and talk candidly about struggling with depression on Instagram. The support I received and the messages people sent meant the world. For Time to Talk Day I want to be there for my followers so I’m inviting them to come and meet me for an honest conversation about mental health - where we can all open up and talk about how we really are.”
Celebrity supporters such as Dame Kelly Holmes, Dr Ranj Singh and Matt Johnson have taken part in kick starting a social media campaign whereby supporters are asked to share their ‘key ingredient’ for a meaningful conversation about mental health.
If you're struggling with your mental health, finding a way to open up to a loved one can be difficult. Have a look at the video below, from Counselling Directory member Philip Karahassan, who gives his advice on how to talk to a loved one about your mental health.
Let’s use Time to Talk Day as a chance to meaningfully engage with friends and family by talking about mental health.
Time to Talk Day, which was established six years ago, asks everyone to have a conversation about mental health to help break the stigma that can surround mental health problems. Join in the conversation online using the hashtag #timetotalk or visiting the website.
If you are worried about your mental health, you may benefit from speaking to a professional. Enter your location in the box below to find a counsellor near you.