I'm Listening: Dr. Moutier on the ‘Unintended Consequences’ of Social Media

It’s time to stop the stigma and promote the positive

September 8, 2019

On Sunday September 8, all Entercom radio stations across the country marked the start of National Suicide Prevention Week with a special commercial-free broadcast of I’m Listening, a two-hour program dedicated to ending the stigma of talking about mental health.

Along with artists, athletes, and listeners sharing their story, Dr. Christine Moutier from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention joined the show to talk about the steps being taken to curb the “unintended consequences” of social media.

“We’re learning so much about what it means to live out this newfound value on mental health,” explains AFSP’s Chief Medical Officer. “Certain things like the likes, and some types of social media utilization have really led to worsening in mental health. Young people, advocates who are young people have learned that for themselves there are times that they should unplug and take a break for the sake of their mental health.”

Moutier addressed the idea of hiding likes, which Instagram has begun testing in certain areas, and discussed the impact that this curated world can have on people, saying that it leads to a “totally distorted view of what other people’s lives are like, when you are having ups and downs and the usual state of good days and bad days.”

“Or if you have anxiety or depression, it can really feel even worse and feel like you’re the only one and of course that’s not true,” adds Moutier. “There’s a lot of movement and progress being made to try to address some of those unintended consequences that are really serving to perpetuate stigma instead of allowing people to connect to the positive.”

Mental health issues affect over 40-million Americans, with suicide being the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34, regardless of race, religion, and sexual orientation.

You can hear much more from Dr. Moutier, including her role in advising the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and the potential for a new three-digit emergency number for suicidal counseling, in the full interview above.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there.

Please check the RESOURCES YOU CAN USE on ImListening.org. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.