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Admit it, we can all be guilty, at times, of being glued to our social media feeds and addicted to sharing our lives and watching other people’s. Social media can be a fun place to go to find inspiration, conversation and support but when it turns dark, it can also negatively impact your mental health.

During ESSENCE’s recent Wellness House event, You Are What You Think: Managing Your Mental Health, ESSENCE Lifestyle Director Charli Penn spoke with Wild ‘n Out comedienne and social media personality Jessie Woo, and emerging rapper Kid Kenn about the impact social media can have on your mental health, especially if you’re putting your personal life or work out there.

Both Kenn and Woo acknowledged that, for them, the positive effects of social media have been game-changers for their careers.

“I’m thankful for social media because that’s literally how a lot of people got introduced to me, so I’m really thankful for that aspect of it,” explained Woo. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities come from social media.”

Kenn agreed. “I love social media,” she said. “But it is a good side and a bad side, but I haven’t really seen the bad side yet.”

Woo admits that she’s had to learn how to better manage her mental health as her popularity has grown. “It’s a great tool however, I do feel like there’s like a good side and then there’s a dark side to social media,” she explained. “Especially when you’re someone who’s in the public eye. People can really think that they know you and it’s a place for them to say things to you that they wouldn’t say to you in public. There have been times I’ve seen things about myself written that are very triggering to like trauma that I have. And so, I’m learning how to just kindly use it for what it’s supposed to be and everything else, just flush it all out. Because if I don’t then, chile.”

For Kenn, he said it’s about knowing when to turn it off. “I really be chilling so I don’t let social media get to me. I really don’t pay attention to it. It’s just social media,” he added. “I can turn my phone off and it won’t be there no more.”

Woo insists that for those who are having trouble blocking out the negative noise, self-love and care is the key to finding that balance and protecting your peace. “You’re the only person who really knows who you are behind your handle,” added Woo. “People can say whatever or people can feel whatever, tweet comment whatever, but at the end of the day, you have to know who you are outside of social media. For me, that’s something that’s helped me remain confident in what I do.”

Watch the full conversation above. For more of everything you missed at ESSENCE Wellness House, click HERE.

The 2021 ESSENCE Wellness House is sponsored by Tropicana, TV One and WW.

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