SUNDAY, Jan. 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Turning to Facebook for help is probably the wrong move for depressed college students, new research shows.
In a small study of 33 students who posted on Facebook about feelings of depression, not one was advised to reach out to a mental health professional for help.
Rather, friends sent supportive and encouraging messages.
“It makes me concerned that none of the Facebook friends of students in this study were proactive in helping their friend get help,” said lead author Scottye Cash, an associate professor of social work at Ohio State University, in Columbus. “We need to figure out why.”
Study participants reported the posts they made and how their friends reacted. They also completed a questionnaire on depression.
Nearly half had symptoms of moderate or severe depression and 33% said they had had recent suicidal thoughts.
“There’s no doubt that many of the students in our study needed mental health help,” Cash said.
Student posts included feelings of loneliness or having a bad day or feeling things couldn’t get worse. Only one student asked for help and only three mentioned “depression” or related words, Cash said.
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