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Looking after your mental health online

Explains the benefits and challenges to your mental health of being online. Also has information on staying safe online, getting the balance right between your online and offline life, and finding reliable mental health information online.

How can I keep relationships healthy online?

It's possible to make great friendships online that can help your mental health. But not every person you meet will be someone you get on with. And supporting online friends can affect your own mental health too. Remember:

  • Try to be realistic. Just like in offline life, you're unlikely to get all the support you need from an online relationship. Try and be realistic about what support an online relationship can offer. There are lots of mental health support options and people you can talk to. 
  • Think about the impact of supporting someone else. Supporting someone else online can be a good way to improve your self-esteem. But if this becomes overwhelming and starts to negatively affect your mental health, you might need to take a break. Our pages on supporting someone else have more information and tips on how to look after yourself.
  • Take a break. If an online relationship is no longer working for you, it might be best to take a break. For example, if you keep arguing or the other person wants more support than you can offer. Social media sites and online communities allow you to unfollow or defriend people. This can be on a temporary or permanent. It can help if you're finding it difficult being connected to someone online.

When it is too much or an online relationship is getting overwhelming I think it is important to take care of myself; to have the courage to be honest and gently tell them the truth.

Meeting offline

If you've made a friendship online, you may decide to take it offline. This could be talking on the phone or meeting up in person. If you do this, it's important to think about your safety.

  • Don't feel pressurised to meet up if you don't feel comfortable doing so.
  • Check the person is who they say they are. You could have a video call beforehand, or instead of meeting in person if that would make you more comfortable.
  • If you meet in person, meet in a public place. Tell someone you trust where you're going and when you expect to be back. And make sure you know your route home in case you feel uncomfortable and want to leave quickly.

This information was published in July 2023. We will revise it in 2026. 

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

References and bibliography available on request.

If you want to reproduce this content, see our permissions and licensing page.

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