'It's so dangerous' - social media a driving force behind mental illness according to experts

Social media bullying is a driving force behind many of New Zealand's mental health issues according to experts. 

A new mental health helpline is being inundated by Kiwi youth, and medical experts say social media is a major cause. Source: 1 NEWS

The newly launched 1737 helpline which helps anyone struggling with mental health and addictions, has been contacted more than 5,600 times and the largest demographic reaching out, is young people. 

Eighteen per cent of those seeking help are aged 13 to 19 years old and 19 per cent are 20 to 24. 

Psychiatrist David Codyre says "bullying is such a huge driver of depressions for young people".

"Social media has made it easier for people to say and do things to each other that they would never dream of doing face to face," My Codyre told 1 NEWS. 

Jazz Thornton knows exactly how harmful social media can be. 

"It's so dangerous," she says.

"When I was in high school there was a Facebook page made about me, a really horrible one and people were writing horrific things about it. People started to join in.

"Social media at the point was my world and in my mind everyone in my world hated me. So I tried to take my life and ended up in hospital."

Now the 22-year-old travels around schools speaking about mental health and encouraging those who need help to try the 1737 helpline. 

Need to talk? 1737 – Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
Healthline – 0800 611 116
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 or
The Lowdown: A website to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. or free text 5626 – Online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed
OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463 for support related to sexual orientation or gender identity