Social media literacy is necessary for equitable mental health and the mental health workforce can help their clients build these skills. As a first step, mental health providers should pursue their own social media literacy, the “the practical, cognitive, and affective competences required to access, analyze, evaluate, and create content on social media in a variety of contexts.” When providers are themselves digitally literate, they are prepared to support youth, young adults, and caregivers to develop and maintain healthy relationships with social media. These skills can assist the mental health workforce in helping clients set appropriate boundaries, recognize mis- or disinformation, and protect themselves from the negative consequences of exposure to damaging content.
As the research summaries provided in this resource list indicate, social media can be both a powerful tool for connection and support and a space that can cause or extenuate mental health inequities. This resource is a part of our Pacific Southwest MHTTC’s suite of programming, aimed to enhance the mental and school mental health workforce’s skills, knowledge, and awareness of how the positive and negative psychological impact of social media on youth and young adults.
We offer this list of resources, guidelines, and tips to support healthy use of social media. These free, publicly accessible links give mental health providers information about the risks and benefits of social media for adolescents and youth. The links are offered as resources to be distributed to providers’ clients, including youth and their family/caregivers.