BYU CAPS counselor discusses handling media overload

BYU CAPS counselor advises students to stay informed but not overloaded by the media they consume. (Photo illustration by Unsplash)

People who constantly consume media can become overwhelmed with news and posts about the pandemic, conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement and more.

Dr. Klint Hobbs, a psychologist with BYU Counseling and Psychological Services, offered some insight into how students can overcome this media overload.

“Social media can kind of create an echo chamber where they’re curating a lot of what you look at based on what you have looked at,” he said. “Looking at things that are really hard to look at can supply your feed with more of those.”

This can impact mental health negatively and cause people to feel burned out from what they’re consuming, but Hobbs advises to not be passive on important information and to instead stay “informed but not overloaded.”

US News also chimes in on this advice in an article about media overload during the coronavirus.

“Some amount of concern is a good thing so we’re not complacent,” the article reads. “We want to be aware of — and following — health guidelines.” 

In reference to the recent events like Black Lives Matter protests, Hobbs said it’s important to engage with the news so people can become better citizens. He recommends setting limits on engagement with the media and saving energy for things that could help with the social issues that are prevalent today.

“We’re not really good to anybody if we’re so burned out and traumatized by what we’re seeing,” he said. 

Along with setting limits, Hobbs prescribed basic self-care — like maintaining a regular sleep schedule, eating healthy and getting exercise — when feeling overwhelmed by current events.

“Those things prime you to feel better and to be able to handle everything better,” he said.

Hobbs also suggested anyone feeling overwhelmed take advantage of CAPS and the ongoing services it’s providing over Zoom, such as crisis and quick care appointments that can be scheduled and done on the same day. 

Additionally, CAPS released a statement on its website on June 2 in response to Black Lives Matter movement, offering safe spaces for students who feel marginalized and are struggling. “To this end, we offer crisis sessions, ongoing individual therapy and group therapy to Black students who need a place to talk through any reactions they hold.”

These services are free and have no wait time. Overall, Hobbs encourages students to be mindful of their media consumption and to not completely avoid it.

“My goal for the news would be to not avoid it,” he said. “Be in control of your news media consumption rather than be controlled by it.”

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