Is there a link between mental health issues and smartphones?

I listened to a talk about the link between the rise in mental health issues and smartphone usage yesterday.  It appears to be a topic of significant research and discussion, right now.

Of course, it’s essential to approach the subject with caution and recognise that correlations don’t necessarily imply it’s all the fault of the smart phone. After all, Covid, Wars, ongoing conflict and climate change concerns all play a part, but several points can be made about the link that might make your people think a little:

  1. Social Media Stress: People might feel bad or left out when they see others posting happy or exciting moments on apps like Instagram or Facebook.
  2. Less Real Talk: Instead of chatting in person, people text more. Real-life talks can make us feel better and connected.
  3. Sleep Trouble: Using phones a lot, especially before bed, can mess with our sleep. Not sleeping well can make us feel down or stressed.
  4. Too Much Information: Getting too many messages or news alerts can make people feel stressed or worried.
  5. Feeling Left Out: Seeing everyone’s updates and invites can make someone feel like they’re missing out on fun things.
  6. Online Bullying: Some people get picked on or bullied online, which can hurt their feelings.
  7. Less Moving: If we’re on our phones all the time, we might not move or exercise much. Moving and exercising can make us feel good.
  8. Wanting Things NOW: Phones give things fast. So, sometimes, we might get upset if things in real life don’t happen quickly.

But remember:

  1. There’s More Going On: Phones might not be the only reason someone feels down. There are lots of things happening in life.
  2. Phones Can Help Too: Some apps or chats can help people feel better or less alone.
  3. Everyone’s Different: Phones might make one person feel bad but not another.

So the message is, it’s a good idea to take breaks from our phones sometimes and to use them in ways that make us happy and healthy.

Here at SWR, we concentrate on helping organisations to encourage their workforce to raise the bar around conversations on mental health and build both individual and collective resilience.