The thing that we know may not be true about social media, especially for Instagram.
Despite past research that illustrated the negative effects social media can have on our mental health, there may be hope.
As reported by Refinery29, a study conducted by researchers at Drexel University found that Instagram has become a supportive hotspot for those dealing with depression and other mental illnesses.
The study, which involved looking at a sample of 800 Instagram posts, randomly selected from over 95,000 posts hashtagged with #depression over the course of a month, found that 41 percent of posts related to depression received supportive comments from other users.
“I know how that feels”
Those that outlined their problems in the captions tended to receive more empathetic comments, like “I know how that feels,” “I’ve been there” and posts that mentioned a specific illness received twice as many comments as those that did not.
When users posted about behaviors like self-harm or eating disorders — behaviors that tend to be stigmatized — they were more likely to receive comments discouraging these habits, which surprised researchers, as they originally figured that these posts would make users targets for bullying.
“We found that these disclosures”
“Physical or mental health and body image concerns are stigmatized, rarely disclosed and frequently elicit negative responses when shared with others,” wrote the authors of the study. “We found that these disclosures, in addition to deep and detailed stories of one’s difficult experiences, attract positive social support on Instagram.”
Because of the influx of these types of posts, Instagram itself has rolled out a support feature designed to assist those struggling with personal issues.