Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

WPSU's Mental Health Q &A: How does social media comparison affect me?

FILE - illustration of woman taking a selfie on phone with like notifications
Illustration of woman taking a selfie and receiving "likes" and comments.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Young adulthood is a time when many mental health issues first surface, and college can be a stressful time. WPSU asked Penn State students their questions about mental health. Then we got experts to answer them for our “Mental Health Q&A” series this month.

Dr. Aiesha Lee is an associate professor at Penn State and a licensed mental health counselor. Destiny Sanchez shared this question right before she graduated from Penn State.

Destiny Sanchez:
I’m such a believer of social media as a highlight reel of everyone's life. So, I guess, a comparison of yourself to others on social media — how does that impact your mental health? 

Dr. Aiesha Lee: 
You know, in comparing ourselves and getting so caught up in social media, we're kind of giving away our power in that sense of, you know, let me look at what everyone else is doing and try to emulate or or match what they're doing. And that's not fair, right? Because you can't emulate or match what other people are doing, because you're not living their lives.

You know, I think social media, what it's done for us is it's, in a lot of ways, normalized people's experiences. But it's also made some people's experiences mainstream, while other people's experiences aren't. And so when we don't see our experience showcased as the mainstream experience, then we think, "Well, what's wrong with us? Why can't I have that? I don't match that image. So therefore, I'm not happy. I don't have a good life."

And so if we were to step away from social media and just have our life and live our life, we would be able to find happiness in just being.

- - -

Listen here to all of WPSU's Mental Health Q&As.