Lake Orion's Students Offering Support urges less screen time for mental health

The end of lunch time doesn't just mean the fun is ending and the learning is starting up again. Instead, this lunch hour at Lake Orion High School is packed with a critical life lesson. 

"People who spend five hours a day or more on social media have a 72 percent increase in the likeliness that they have one of the risk factors of suicide," said Amy Redman, school advisor.

FOX 2: "Was that shocking to you?"

"Very shocking," she said.

The high school started a program eight years ago called Students Offering Support. The goal is to bust the stigma surrounding mental health. 
"When you see people with so much Photoshop, you don't realize that it has been Photo shopped," said student Malinda Brunk. "And you think they just look like that (and) 'I can never look like that' and things that you see and compare yourself to. That's the issue of the anxiety and where that comes in."

Every day this week, mental health has been on the menu at lunch time. Today's lesson: social media overload.  

"Students who spend 58 hours or more a week are three times more likely to feel socially isolated," Redman said. "They report feeling isolated. Which is interesting because social media is supposed to not make us feel isolated, but to connect us. 

"The more time we're spending on social media, the more isolated we actually feel."

"Not only have I had personal family affected by mental health issues but it's been seen in our school district with the recent passing of a student by suicide," said student Brendan Franz. "So I think it's really important to bring the idea into our district of just talking about it more."

And tweeting about it less - a conversation where all hands are on deck. The SOS group does activities all year long. But today's lunch life lesson is already rubbing off.  

"Fifty percent of people on social media get cyber bullied," said student Christina Chiaramonti. "And that's a big problem with the social media aspect is that a lot of people, they only put what they want out there and nobody focuses on what they are really feeling with their mental health. They're just focused on the number of likes they want."

The solution being offered today is take the app off your phone so you can only check it on your computer and making the addictive apps a treat. 

"Choose maybe to say okay I will reward myself," Redman said. "Maybe after so many hours of doing something else, I will give myself 15 minutes, half an hour to check social media."

The school relies heavily on the National Alliance on Mental Illness to come up with these numbers and have a very candid conversation. They are hoping you have that conversation as well. 

For more information go to National Alliance on Mental Illness HERE.