Social media may be linked to teen suicide
CHICAGO — An increase in suicide rates among U.S. teens occurred at the same time social media use surged and a new analysis suggests there may be a link.
The study doesn’t answer the question, but it suggests that one factor could be rising social media use. Recent teen suicides have been blamed on cyberbullying, and social media posts depicting “perfect” lives may be taking a toll on teens’ mental health, researchers say.
“After hours of scrolling through Instagram feeds, I just feel worse about myself because I feel left out,” said Caitlin Hearty, a 17-yearold Littleton, Colorado, high school senior who helped organize an offline campaign last month after several local teen suicides.
“No one posts the bad things they’re going through,” said Chloe Schilling, 17, who helped with the campaign, in which hundreds of teens agreed not to use the internet or social media for one month. The study’s authors looked at CDC suicide reports from 2009-15 and results of two surveys given to U.S. high school students to measure attitudes, behaviours and interests. The researchers didn’t examine circumstances surrounding individual suicides. Dr. Christine Moutier, chief aFoundation for Suicide Prevention, said the study provides weak evidence for a popular theory.