Home Cyberpsychology & Technology Here’s How Social Media Impacts Your Mental Health

Here’s How Social Media Impacts Your Mental Health

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We are all on social media, even when we are depressed or struggling with other mental health issues. This can cause a lot of reputation damage by what is said or done in social media channels – sometimes unrepairable. This is something we want to prevent and that is why, together with two of my colleagues, I created the app Reality Keeper. This app is a self-monitoring app that can help you monitor how active you are on social media, and how your social media use makes you feel.

Reality Keeper

The app is called Reality Keeper because it is a way of keeping in touch with reality. The app is based on the TED Talk of Mario Sigman about how words on social media can predict the state of your mental health.

Seeing this talk and being at a hackathon got us started. At this health hackathon, we worked on the idea of developing the app and also started the process to secure funding.

ZonMw, a Dutch NGO that subsidises health projects liked our idea. We received funding and we have one year to build the app based on that particular TED talk. That is how the Reality Keeper app was born.

Testing the app

When Reality Keeper was being developed and the first version was tested intensively by our potential users, the feedback we received was great. They liked the app but thought it should be free and have more self-management questions other than social media, so we listened to them and developed it further. Also, we now offer it for free in the Google and Apple App Store. Download it and try it yourself.

The app has been tested by people who had a psychosis in the past, and by people with other mental health issues. They were enthusiastic about the app and came up with a lot of new suggestions to improve the app.

What does the app do?

The app asks you every day a few questions at a time picked by you. The questions are about how much you were on social media and how it made you feel and how you are feeling today. By answering these questions you become aware of the impact social media has on your mood and mental health.

It only takes a few minutes of your time each day and is a good way to practise self-management. More information on the app can be found on the app website Unfortunately, it is only available in Dutch at the moment.

The future

Although the app is only available in Dutch at the moment, we are ready to launch an English version too. We are looking for finance. Also, we would like to put a few other things on the app.

Because it is a self-management app we asked users what else they would like into the app. The answers were more self-reporting questions like: ‘How much did I drink today?’, ‘Did I exercise today?’, etc.

We have taken this advice at heart and have a new version ready on paper – So only the finances must be dealt with to carry these plans out.

What are we looking for?

Are you going to help us broaden the app with a larger user base, with an English version, and with more self-reporting questions?

We think the app should be available for everybody that is why an English version has priority for us. With an English version, more people will be able to use it.

And for those who are already using it, we would like to put more self-management questions in it. That would make Reality Keeper more valuable for the users and keep them engaged with the app. We already made a report with the feedback from the users with what should be added to the app to make it a more dynamic self-management app that the user will like even more.

Since the app has been co-created by a Dutch NGO who works in mental health issues, we are looking for people, NGOs or business who can help finance or built the app further. If you think you can help please contact us and we are happy to discuss with you our ideas and how we can work together to develop Reality Keeper further. Contact us through our website.

Guiselaine Capella is one of the creators of the app Reality Keeper. Guiselaine is also involved on other projects that support the well-being of mental health patients.

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