As we celebrate World Mental Health Day today, a new YouGov poll finds that most adults in Australia think social media is responsible for a decline in mental health, with a majority saying it is somewhat responsible (56%), and almost a fifth (18%) saying it is completely responsible. One in six (16%) have a neutral stand. Very few Australians think it is not very responsible (4%) or not at all responsible (2%).
Among members of Generation Z, 75% believe social media is completely or somewhat responsible for a decline in mental health. Millennials hold similar opinions but are more likely to say it is completely responsible (at 25%). Members of Generation X and Baby Boomers tend to agree, at 71% and 73%, respectively.
Men and women are also largely in agreement on this topic, with more than seven in ten saying social media is responsible for declining mental health, however, men are more likely than women to consider it completely responsible for decline (22% vs 14%).
When it comes to the impact of social media on their own mental health, Australians' opinions are mixed. The largest proportion of respondents say social media has a neutral impact on their mental health (42%). The percentage of people saying it has a positive impact is the same as the share saying it has a negative impact (24% each).
Amongst the genders, men are more likely than women to view social media as having a positive effect on their mental health (29% vs 20%). On the other hand, women are more likely to say it has a neutral impact (47% vs 37%).
When asked if they have taken a break from social media, more than two in five Australians (42%) say they’ve done so because it was having a negative effect on their mental health. Most people, however, have not done it (52%).
Among the generations, GenZ and millennials are equally likely to say they have taken a social media break (at 52%). The proportions on GenX and Baby Boomers who said this are at 39% and 31%, respectively.
Among the genders, men and women (42% each) are equally likely to have taken a social media break.
Finally, when asked if social media can be used to have positive conversations about mental health, 18% believe it can be used to a large extent. Nearly half (49%) think it can be used to some extent, and the remaining either say it can help to little or no extent (22%) or are unsure of its resourcefulness (11%).
Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This data is based on a survey of adults aged 18+ years in Australia with a sample size of 1030 respondents. The survey was conducted online between October 5 and 6, 2023. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.