Lincoln psychologist blames social media for decline in teen girls’ mental health

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the mental health of teenage girls nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a CDC survey, nearly 60% of girls reported feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness.  And social media may be elevating those feelings of distress.

Stacy Waldron, a psychologist at Bryan Health, said social media has always been “an issue” for teens.

But since the pandemic, teens are more likely to use their phones and isolate themselves.

“They spend more time on their phones, looking at Snapchat or TikTok, Instagram,” she said.

Waldron said social media apps can have long-lasting effects on teens, causing them to withdraw from day-to-day life.

“A big thing for teen girls is looking at those pictures, that may be very much modified, and suddenly saying, ‘I don’t look like that; I need to look like that,'” she said.

Waldron said teens can pass judgment on themselves, which may create debilitating insecurities.

“Maybe they were in dance, or maybe they were in cheer or maybe they were involved in some kind of sport, and suddenly they don’t want to do that anymore,” she said.

Awareness is key for friends and family of a teen who is suffering from depression, Waldron said.

Resources like outpatient care or guidance counselors can help.

Waldron said teens are trying to figure out who they are.

“So, you’re trying to figure out how to grow up, and being that guide as a parent can be very, very helpful,” she said.

Categories: Health, Lancaster, News, Top Stories