Young woman looking at her phone
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Out of all the social media platforms available to us today, Instagram might be the most popular. It’s estimated that 90 percent of young adults and teens use Instagram regularly, and it’s become the primary place where people express themselves and put their lives on display. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that Instagram has a negative effect on the mental health of teenagers. Many of them report feeling depressed and extremely self-conscious when using the app.

The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPA) in the UK has been trying to raise awareness around the issue, because they believe “social media may be fueling a mental health crisis,” according to the BBC.

In a survey of almost 1,500 people between the ages 14 and 24, Instagram was rated as the social media platform with the most negative effects.

It may seem like fun and games from the outside, but many young people using Instagram have struggled with anxiety, depression, bullying, and body image issues.

This shouldn’t be taken lightly, considering the fact that suicide is a real epidemic in our society today. It’s the third leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 15 and 24. That’s why the RSPA is insisting that social media platforms like Instagram do a better job at buckling down on bullying and understanding which of their users struggle with a mental illness.

Cramer said it’s going to become increasingly more important to help teenagers understand what information is trustworthy and what is triggering. She wants to make sure Instagram and other social media platforms don’t turn into a “Wild West” where young adults can get lost — and hurt.

The more organizations like the RSPH initiate educational programs and spread awareness about this issue, the more likely we are to see a change. Teenagers and young adults should have all the help they need in order to have a healthy, happy experience on social media.