Who is Dr.McIntyre?
Dr. Roger McIntyre, a respected University of Toronto professor, recently undertook a study on the impact of social media use and psychological and emotional distress on depression in 3,064 adults in mainland China. The study is summarized by Dr. McIntyre as follows: “The more time people spend on social media, the worse it is for their overall health. The more they feel bad about themselves and their lives.” “The more time spent on social media, the worse it is for mental health. Full stop”, McIntyre said.
McIntyre is the CEO of AltMed and President of CRTCE, says COVID-19 is more than just a physical threat and economic threat; it’s a social threat too! People aren’t used to staying home so we need “an equal motivation to make sure all these interpersonal connections are positive”.
Social Media and COVID-19
What can we take from all of this? It’s more important now than ever to stay in contact with our family and friends. People have to be selective of who they chum around with as social media use has skyrocketed during this time of COVID-19 pandemic. Social media allows for interactions with people we don’t even know and that goes against our human evolution. “we evolved successfully by spending time with family and friends, people we could trust, which was necessary for survival. We are not wired to spend time with strangers, and social media allows these pseudo-connections online, “ says Dr. McIntyre.
Advice for staying social
Here are his takeaways to stay healthier:
1) Moderate your internet use. The study shows that for people who spend more than 3 hours per day on the internet, they reported much greater levels of anxiety
2) Communicate with family and friends
3) Engage in meaningful interpersonal contact rather than anonymous contact on social media as the study showed this actually worsened mental health
4) For people who already have underlying mental health issues, you may be more vulnerable to social isolation and distancing and that can be very difficult. Use Telehealth Services if needed
5) Recognize that the loss of your job is more than simply the loss of income. It’s also the loss of your social network, of your sense of self and of your daily structure.
6) Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember that how you handle this stress is of great importance and can be reduced with meditation, reflection or prayer.