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Health

Researchers explore a connection between social media and depression

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Social media is rapidly becoming more than just a tool to stay connected with friends and old flames.

A University of Michigan conference this week about Depression on College Campuses highlighted new data which suggests that sites like Facebook are becoming outlets for people to communicate signs of depression.

Dr. John Greden is the executive director of the University of Michigan Depression Center. He says these outlets have led to a profound decrease of stigma surrounding depression, especially among students in their late teens and early 20s.

“When you look at things like Facebook the young people of the country are pretty open about talking about their struggles with depression. That's stuff that would not have been talked about 30 or 40 years ago.”

Researchers hope to use this data to advance future diagnostics and screening methods to treat depression. “Social media has true power to make a difference and to help people attain wellness and then maintain wellness and to even save lives,” says Greden.

-Lindsay Hall, Michigan Radio Newsroom