How seeing graphic content online impacts mental health

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Videos of a woman being attacked in Mexico have gone viral on social media after her death was confirmed.

Shanquella Robinson was found dead in her hotel room in October while vacationing with friends in Cabo San Lucas. Circulating videos show what appears to be someone attacking Robinson. Despite alleged reports that her death was the result of alcohol poisoning, Robinson’s death certificate from Mexico shows that she died as a result of a severe spinal cord injury.

At this time, no one has been charged with any crime in connection with the case. North Carolina state officials have only confirmed that a US citizen has died in Mexico.

The graphic nature of these videos raises the question of what seeing disturbing content online does to one’s mental health. Dr. Abigail Johnson of the Johnson Behavioral Health Group spoke with KSLA to discuss the following questions:

  • How does social media play a role in our mental well-being?
  • What does watching traumatic, distressing content do to our mental health?
  • What are the long-term effects of seeing brutal acts online? How does PTSD play a role?
  • What are ways to protect our mental health on social media when disturbing content is trending?

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