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New Poll: Americans Less Likely than in 2022 to Say Social Media Has Hurt Society, Political & Civil Discourse

  • April 02, 2024

Washington, D.C. — While many Americans are neutral on whether social media is harmful or helpful to their mental health, they tend to say it’s more likely to have helped them personally than society at large. Their viewpoints on the harms of social media to society at large have changed since a similar poll was done in 2022.

Americans saying: In 2024 In 2022
Social media has hurt society at large 36% 44%
Social media has hurt political discourse 33% 42%
Social media has hurt civil discourse 30% 38%

These findings are from the American Psychiatric Association’s Healthy Minds Monthly polls, fielded by Morning Consult on behalf of APA. This year’s poll was fielded March 11-14, 2024, among 2,204 adults; the prior poll was fielded Jan. 19-20, 2022, among a nationally representative sample of 2,210 adults.

In 2024, Americans are somewhat split on the mental health benefits of social media: 41% are neutral on whether social media is harmful or helpful to their mental health, with 31% saying it does more harm than good, and 29% saying it does more good than harm.

“Social media is a ubiquitous technology and our understanding of the harm it can cause is shifting,” said APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A. “Ultimately our personal use of social media is similar to the interaction we have with any technology, which is to say that we have to be mindful of its impact on our mood, thoughts, and feelings. Helping children and adolescents learn and practice mindfulness can give them skills to manage their journeys in social media.”

When assessing social media’s impact on aspects of their personal lives, Americans indicated that:

*among parents polled

Social media… Helped Hurt No impact Did not know
  2024 2022 2024 2022 2024 2022 2024 2022
Relationships w/family & friends 30% 31% 14% 13% 46% 49% 9% 7%
Your self-esteem 23% 19% 17% 15% 51% 58% 9% 8%
Your lifestyle 26% 22% 13% 12% 50% 59% 11% 7%
Your health 22% 18% 13% 12% 54% 63% 10% 7%
Your child’s self-esteem* 31% 23% 18% 17% 40% 46% 11% 14%
Your child’s mental health* 31% 24% 20% 20% 36% 44% 13% 12%

*among parents polled

Use of Mental Health Information on Social Platforms

Fifty-five percent of Americans said they had used social media to find information on mental health. Age mattered: while 77% of 18-34-year-olds had used social media for this purpose, only 23% of those ages 65 or older had.

When asked which social media platforms they used to find mental health information:

  • 34% of American adults said YouTube
  • 31% said Facebook
  • 19% said Instagram
  • 19% said TikTok
  • 12% said X (formerly Twitter)
  • 10% said Snapchat
  • Among other platforms, 9% said Reddit, 6% said LinkedIn, 5% said Quora ,4% said Twitch, 3% said Discord and 3% said other.

Nearly one in three (30%) Americans had seen someone share their experiences with mental health disorder symptoms on social media. One-fifth (22%) had learned about mental health disorders or symptoms and 17% asked their doctor about mental health information that they had found on social media. Twelve percent self-diagnosed with a mental health disorder or a symptom.

“It is no surprise that particularly younger Americans are listening and joining the social media conversation on mental health,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “In many ways, that is a very healthy sign. However, those of us in the mental health and medical fields must work to ensure that accurate information is available, and to ensure that people can reach a doctor or other mental health clinician if they aren’t feeling well.”

APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly tracks timely mental health issues throughout the year, see past Healthy Minds Monthly polls. See this month full results.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,900 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit

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