Technology & Media | Consumer Fraud Protection

Instagram Mental Health Lawsuit

Connect with an attorney

Active case

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram over Meta’s alleged role in creating and perpetuating a mental health epidemic in young people. Many suits allege Instagram in particular is to blame for their children dying by suicide. You may be eligible to file an Instagram mental health lawsuit if you or your child experienced mental harm from Instagram.

Why are people filing Instagram lawsuits?

People are filing lawsuits against Instagram and its parent company, Meta because of the platform’s alleged negative effect on mental health. Evidence has allegedly linked high social media use to increased risk of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicidal ideation. 

For example, a lawsuit has been filed in California by a young woman who attempted suicide three times as a child. According to the plaintiff, she started using Instagram at 12 years old and quickly began spending many hours a day on the social media site. She asserts her addiction to Instagram led her to develop an eating disorder, depression, and make multiple attempts to end her life.

Forty-two state attorneys general have sued Meta for what they allege is Meta’s role in a youth mental health crisis. Thirty-three of the states filed a federal suit against Meta in the Northern District of California, while nine additional attorneys general filed in their own states. The state attorneys general claim Instagram misled the public about its dangers and knowingly led users to compulsive use of the platform.

Harms alleged in Instagram mental health lawsuits

A variety of symptoms and conditions are allegedly linked to Instagram use, particularly in young users. Many of these have been cited in mental health lawsuits against Meta, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal ideation and attempts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rates of hopelessness, anxiety, eating disorders and suicide attempts in adolescents have steadily increased over the past 10 years.

Who is eligible to file an Instagram lawsuit?

Parents of young people who have experienced mental health crises may be eligible to file a lawsuit against Instagram. Adults who experienced negative mental health effects from their use of Instagram as minors may also be eligible to sue Instagram.

Our attorneys can help you determine your eligibility for an Instagram lawsuit. They can also help with gathering relevant information, understanding state laws and statutes of limitations and filing a claim for you. Our lawyers offer support throughout the entire legal process.

Contact an Instagram mental health attorney

You may be eligible to file a claim if you or your child has suffered negative mental health effects from using social media platforms like Instagram. Contact Motley Rice today for more information about a social media lawsuit.

Contact a lawyer today.

How does Instagram appear to harm mental health?

Research has found that social media and online activity can have the same effect on the brain as addictive behaviors like gambling or substance abuse. Use can trigger the brain’s reward system by releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to enjoyment and pleasure.

A person’s well-being can be jeopardized when they rely on social media for external validation and social engagement. For instance, not getting as many “likes” or comments on a picture you post can create feelings of disappointment or low self-esteem. It also becomes easy for young people to compare themselves to others. Even when what they are being shown in their feed is edited, filtered, or carefully curated, this can lead to issues with body image in young people—especially younger females.

“FOMO,” or “fear of missing out,” can also contribute to feelings of loneliness, disappointment, anxiety and depression. Seeing other people’s posts about fun events, worrying about missing a message or comment or feeling excluded can lead to higher levels of stress, procrastination, and depressive symptoms.

Signs of Instagram mental health effects

You may notice signs of negative mental health effects from Instagram use in yourself or your child. Some of these signs may include:

  • Feeling anxious about not having access to Instagram
  • Documenting everything with photos
  • Constantly comparing to others
  • Feeling envy or jealousy because of other social media posts
  • Experiencing FOMO more often
  • Hiding Instagram use or the amount of time spent on the app
  • Having increased stress, loneliness, isolation or anxiety
  • Suffering in other aspects of life, like schoolwork
  • Behaving in risky or out-of-character ways to create content or gain “likes”

In need of help? 

If you or a loved one show signs of being suicidal, call the United States National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. This free, confidential call will connect you with a trained staff member. You can also visit their website: 988lifeline.org

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of disordered eating, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). The toll-free number is 1-800-931-2237, and the website is nationaleatingdisorders.org

Frequently asked questions about Instagram mental health lawsuits

Is there a lawsuit against Instagram?

Thirty-three states have filed claims in federal court against Meta and its Instagram division. These states, which include California and New York, claim that Mark Zuckerberg’s companies failed to warn the public about the addictive nature of social media and coaxed young users to use its platforms more frequently. This lawsuit follows other legal action against social media platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube, which face similar allegations.
New lawsuits are still being filed by individuals for the harm the platform has caused to themselves or their loved ones. Motley Rice has filed multiple cases for individuals over social media harm and is leading the federal multidistrict litigation in California as co-lead counsel against Meta and other social media platforms.

Can you sue Instagram for mental health?

If you or your child attempted or died by suicide, was treated for self-harm, or were diagnosed by a health care professional with an eating disorder that you believe was worsened by social media, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against Instagram for mental health issues arising from the use of Instagram. To explore your legal options, speak with attorneys at Motley Rice who have experience handling complex cases against large companies. 

Our experience helping families and children

Motley Rice attorneys have worked for decades to seek justice for children and families affected by toxic and dangerous exposures, including to social media. If you need help filing a lawsuit for Instagram’s effects on mental health, our law firm can help.