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Connected social media users report mental health benefits

"It helps with all those things - depression, anxiety," said one San Antonio blogger.

SAN ANTONIO — Tally Dilbert has experienced the ugly side to social media.

"I would have negative comments toward me. It would be my pictures because of the color of my skin or my hair," Dilbert said. "I posted with my natural hair and would get comments like, 'oh it's ugly.'"

But despite being a cyber-bullying victim, Dilbert said Instagram and YouTube have been pretty good for her mental health.

"You make good connections and if you use it in a positive way, it helps with all those things - depression, anxiety," she said.

It's not just Dilbert who feels that way. A study from Psychology in the Schools found that young people more connected on social media are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and stress.

Mary Libby, a counselor at Taft High School, is not surprised by those findings. "Social media can have that isolation effect, but if they begin to reach out in areas of their interest and areas of individuals who are like them, they're gonna find a connection," she said.

Those connections help people feel like they are part of a group, which Libby said is an important part of life.

"We are all born with a need for love and security, and when that is disrupted, we feel isolated" said Libby. "It's a lot harder to find the sunshine and easier to find the darkness."

From what she sees among students at her school, social media is simply this generation's way to form connections.

"Nothing beats face-to-face...but I remember growing up I had a pen pal. And I looked forward to that letter. And she looked forward to that letter. And it was never face-to-face," she said.

While social media users like Dilbert haven't actually met all of their followers, each double-tap and retweet has formed a tight-knit community.

"I'm amazed when I get comments from people I don't even know. It's amazing how we can have this sisterhood and say nice things about our skin color or hair," she said. "Our mental health is really important, and Instagram - all social media in general - can really affect all that."