So­cial me­dia may be linked to teen sui­cide

Calgary Sun - - LIFE - — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.

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