Reflecting on Dr. Jill Walsh’s Teen Mental Health & Social Media Workshop

On Monday, October 23, the LET program hosted a workshop on teen mental health and social media, its first event of the school year. The honorarium of the event was Dr. Jill Walsh, a leading expert on the topic and a professor at Boston University. The workshop featured a 30-minute presentation from Dr. Walsh, followed by adult and teen breakout rooms. Two of the LET Interns would like to share their reflections on the workshop.

Jacoby Altman:
“Parts of the talk that resonated with me were the comparison of other people’s lives, especially on platforms like Instagram, and how detrimental that can be. Something else that surprised me was the amount of misinformation that exists on certain topics like ‘Mental Health TikTok.’ One could expect some misinformation, but 86% of the information being false is very shocking.
A general theme I noticed that kept coming up in the group discussion was how social media and screen time in general affect people’s sleep. Some takeaways from the talk that I want to apply to my everyday life are reading a book before bed, not sleeping with my phone, and putting time limits on some social media apps.

The way Dr. Jill Walsh explained the issues around social media affecting both teens and adults equally helped bridge the gap between how both groups understand social media.”

Valery Verdier:
“After our Mental Health and Social Media Workshop with Dr. Jill Walsh, a lot of the unhealthy factors of social media that I unintentionally overlooked became a lot more obvious to me. Being able to recognize how small changes, such as following an Instagram Mindfulness page or a few different people that inspire me as opposed to the typical celebrity can change my positivity level and overall perspective of myself when it comes to social media. There are so many small changes that anyone can make in their social media presence, whether it be changing who they follow or putting a time limit on themselves when it comes to triggering social media platforms.

Another important factor that Dr. Walsh brought up was how anything can be changed on social media. As a whole, both adults and kids have to keep in mind the fact that they may not be seeing the full picture of someone’s life, and in turn, need to keep in mind that comparing themselves to others they see on social media isn’t a healthy choice that they can make for themselves.
A common theme established in the teen group discussion was how adults tend to generalize all social media platforms under one stereotype– a bad one. While lots of social media platforms have aspects that aren’t the best for anyone’s mental health, a large amount of them are used for connection whether that be with friends from school or other states. From learning the different ways that social media affects us to hopefully seeing a new perspective when it comes to the uses of social media, I truly hope that this workshop was as insightful for you all as it was for me.”

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