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Social Support Networks for Mental Health Essay

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Social support is a major factor in terms of a social variable that influences health. People who suffer from depression are often isolated and alone and do not have a support network to give them confidence or to make them feel like they are loved and valued. According to Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of needs and human motivation model, people need esteem, friendship and love before they can reach a level of self-actualization, where they can feel self-motivated and self-empowered. Thus, having a social support system is truly important for one’s psychological health.

Part of the problem of today’s digital culture is that too many young persons are turning to social media for a support system but only finding instead a self-obsessed social media culture in which every person is trying to redirect attention to themselves and their own profiles. It is not a true community of support but rather a platform upon which people erect digital shrines to themselves. It can create envy, self-doubt, and feelings of loneliness (Woods & Scott, 2016). Social media can be a place where too much rumination transpires, as stressful images, comments or ideas are placed permanently online for one to look at and obsess over. And as Feenstra (2013) points out, rumination occurs when people focus too much on negativity or stressful events. It can lead to depression and anxiety.

Genuine social supports are needed for people to grow and develop a healthy psychology. This means having genuine friends that they can interact with in a meaningful way and not just hit the like button or give a thumbs up to a post that someone has made. A social support is someone who is willing to devote time to you, listen without judging and offer positive affirmation and feedback to boost one’s sense of self. This is what is needed for people today.


Feenstra, J. (2013). Social psychology. Retrieved from

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370.

Woods, H. C., & Scott, H. (2016). # Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Journal of adolescence, 51, 41-49.

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