Social Media Use as Self-Therapy or Alternative Mental Help-Seeking Behavior

Bryan O. Gere, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, USA
Nahal Salimi, Northern Illinois University, USA
Angela Anima-Korang, East Texas Baptist University, USA
Published: January 31, 2020

Citation: Gere, B. O., Salimi, N., & Anima-Korang, A. (2019). Social Media Use as Self-Therapy or Alternative Mental Help-Seeking Behavior. IAFOR Journal of Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences, 5(2).


Social media use is pervasive in many developed societies. Social Media is a form of digital media and expansive platform that allows users to share information, and socialize with other users (Anderson & Jiang, 2018). There are multiple formats of social media being used by society today. Social networking has become such a large part of the everyday life of people such that many individuals repeatedly post or check their social media accounts. College students use social media to create virtual friendships and relationships that allow them to share information about their personal lives. Information that is shared as posts on social media including personal problems and struggles often elicit both positive and negative feedback (comments and likes). Thus, social media use has caused profound changes in the way people share their emotional and psychological concerns. It is unclear however, whether young adults’ use of social media to share their personal problems constitute self-therapy and impact the tendency to seek formal mental health services. This paper examines perceptions on social media use, self-therapy and mental health seeking behavior among college students, as well as factors that mediate this behavior. It also explores the implications for mental health help seeking behavior among this group and proposes best practices for providing them with relevant and timely information.


social media, self-therapy, mental help, help seeking