Leveraging Digital Media to Promote Youth Mental Health: Flipping the Script on Social Media-Related Risk

Jessica L. Hamilton, John Torous, Hannah S. Szlyk, Candice Biernesser, Kaylee P. Kruzan, Michaeline Jensen, Jazmin Reyes-Portillo, Brian A. Primack, Jamie Zelazny, Paul Weigle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Despite growing public concern about the negative impact of digital media for mental health problems, there are key ways in which digital media can be leveraged to prevent such outcomes. This article reviews research exploring the ways that digital media, particularly social media, can be used to prevent negative mental health outcomes and promote youth mental health and well-being. Recent findings: Research indicates that media can be protective against mental health problems and promote mental health by enabling social support and destigmatizing mental illness, especially for youth with limited resources. Media also can be leveraged to identify those at risk, to educate, provide resources, and promote well-being, and to track symptoms and intervene to prevent or mitigate negative mental health outcomes. There is limited research on interventions designed to reduce the negative effects of digital media on mental health, especially those that harness media itself, a critical area of future research. Summary: This article provides a summary of the current evidence on this topic, highlights key directions for future research, and provides evidence-based recommendations for adolescents, families, educators, clinicians, industry, and policy-makers to prevent mental health problems related to media.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Psychiatry
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Adolescence
  • Digital media
  • Intervention
  • Mental health
  • Prevention
  • Social media


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