The month of April has been a difficult month hearing about killings and suicides which leaves us thinking how safe are we? On a day people celebrate Easter egg hunts and Christ rising from the tomb for Resurrection Sunday, we all were looking forward to some quality family time and positive vibes. As I cleared my plate from the table, I get an alert a Black man just killed a man on Facebook live and he is planning to kill others in Cleveland. The news of the situation was already disheartening but the fact that the actual video was going viral was disgusting for everyone to witness this innocent father killed. While social media is a great tool for networking and connecting with family and friends we don’t see often, it can also negatively affect our mental and emotional state. It seems since Facebook live has launched we have witnessed more suicides, killings, assaults than we would witness watching a movie or television show and safeguards have not been in place as of yet to eliminate these videos.  Just last week a adolescent male was seen playing with a gun which he accidently shot himself with and died. Of all live featured platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, it appears Facebook is the source for devastating feeds and it needs to be addressed! We don’t have control of Facebook removing the feature, but we do have control of what we see and hear. It is important for us to always keep our mental health a priority and in doing so sometimes we need to step away from social media. For myself, scrolling down my timeline and seeing all the different posts about this Cleveland man killing random people and some trying to post the clip to watch has overwhelming and I had to step away from my phone. As a therapist, I have to be mindful of how situations affect me for my mental health as well as my ability to help others in sessions. If I am emotionally drained or thinking about other things, I may miss valuable information from my clients that can help save their lives or help them with difficult situations. It’s important we all do the same for our own mental health.
Here are my top 5 suggestions for social media emotional breakdowns:
  1. If you see someone post a video involving death, assaults, suicide DO NOT CLICK ON IT! Remember what we see or watch can affect our moods and dreams.
  2. If you are interested in updates on urgent situations, limit yourself on how much you refresh your feed. Every 4-6 hours is a great length of time to check.
  3. If you are consistently thinking about the event or find yourself overwhelmed, log off for a day.
  4. Instead of using social media for updated information, tune into one news station to listen for updates once a day.
  5. Talk to someone about what you are feeling; bottled up emotions can lead to depression and severe anxiety.