The two-sides of a coin of social media in handling mental health

By Norashikin Azizan

GOMBAK, 3 April 2019 – An awareness talk on social media and mental health held yesterday (2 April) had raised a serious issue cautioning young people that for all its advantages, social media is something of a double-edged sword.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin, the guest speaker of the day, emphasised on the two sides of the platform in relating to mental health awareness. He said, “Social media can affect your mental health,” cautioning that “it is here to stay, therefore, it is our job to embrace its benefits and be aware of its dangers”.

The talk entitled “Mental Health & Social Media” was conducted yesterday by Welfare of ICTSS, 18/19, here in IIUM Gombak campus.

Dr. Amer further outlined the relationship between social media and depression and their link to suicide. He said, “One clear link and association that can be established is that the quality of interaction on social media platform which led to either positive or negative effects to the users.”

He then shared his own experiences on handling negative response and comments on his Facebook page.

This awareness talk was held in conjunction with IIUM Health Awareness Week 2019. It is a week-long campaign that promotes the importance of the well-being of a person.

Dr. Amer Siddiq was explaining on the depression rate among Malaysians

The guest speaker, who is also the Director of UM Centre for Community & Sustainability Centre (UMCARES), then suggested the possible explanation for social media and internet use-based depression.

“Firstly, depression and anxiety can cause technology addiction and dependence.” He mentioned that the wide usage of smart phones and gadgets around the world has contributed to this predicament.

“Next, technology can cause depression.” The speaker added the second reason, pointing the sleep deprivation suffered by Internet users who are prone to depression.

“Last but not least, bidirectional relationship that governs people who uses social media as an escape from life problems.”

The very short but insightful talk has given numerous benefits to the participants including the means to reach for help regarding mental health.

The speaker listed Befrienders KL as one of the non-profit agencies that can be reached. He also recommended a podcast series and radio channels for those who refuse to have face-to-face interaction. The link to the podcast:  

During the Q&A Session

A Question and Answer session ended the 45-minute talk held in Main Auditorium. ***

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