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Instagram As A Coping Mechanism for Depression Is Like Taking Omega-3 Fatty Acids [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 29, 2017 07:26 AM EDT

Social media use is getting a lot of flak for supposedly causing depression and mental health issues in people, especially in the younger generation. A new study, however, found that not every social media app out there is bad. Instagram can help depressed individuals handle their condition, express them in healthy ways and interact with others also going through the same predicament.

A research from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania found that the photo and video-sharing app has a supportive online community for its users, Care2 reported. This community encourages users to express their struggles and thoughts to strangers who are ready to listen and empathize, cementing Instagram as a coping mechanism for depression.

To use Instagram as a coping mechanism for depression, users need only to use the hashtag #depression in their captions. They can also use other words associated with the condition and self-esteem issues such as #anorexia, #beautiful, #bulimic, #fat, #skinny, #ugly and #starving.

Posts containing these hashtags get plenty of comments. You would expect that commenters would spew out bullying or negative statements, but researchers found that the comments are mostly positive and are encouraging for the person who made the post. The most common statement seen in the comments section is, "You are strong and beautiful."

Oftentimes, people with depression are hesitant to share about their struggles in face-to-face conversations, but virtual interactions tend to be easier for them.

Individuals who use Instagram as a coping mechanism for depression view the app as a safe place and platform for "legitimizing experiences rather than finding more pragmatic help." Aside from getting support and encouragement, people also share their struggles to make sense of their emotions.

Instagram has introduced a feature that allows users to anonymously report posts from users that indicate depression or self-harm, according to the Wired. Instagram will then contact the person who was reported and offer a variety of support services to him/her such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Eating Disorder Association.

In other news, a study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry found that the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids can dramatically lower a person's depression risk, the Telegraph reported.

These acids help restore the body's natural anti-inflammatory abilities, which help curb the likelihood of developing the mental health condition. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in flaxseed oil, chia seeds, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines), soybeans, spinach and fish roe (eggs).

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