An alarming new study has found Australians are spending eight times as many hours each week looking at a screen than they do their loved ones.
The study, conducted by suicide prevention charity R U OK? looked at 1000 participants and found we are spending an average of 46 hours per week looking at a screen – whereas we only spend six with socializing with family and friends.
"It definitely has an impact on mental health, in terms of low mood, ability to get through difficult situations, having someone to talk to, to debrief with," Rachel Clements from R U OK? told ABC.
"Those types of relationships, if they're strong and they're around us, they're big protective factors in keeping us well," she continued. "Staying connected to people, reaching out to people and having really good relationships is a really positive thing."
The study cited the most common reasons for getting in the way of face-to-face catch ups as distance (38 per cent), tiredness (28 per cent), too busy with other activities (20 per cent), too busy with housework (19 per cent) and working long hours (18 per cent).
"When people are disconnected, when we pull away or withdraw from others, it means that if challenges or obstacles or difficult times come our way it can make those times a little tougher to get through."
R U OK? Day is on September 8 and aims to remind us to check in on our loved ones in order to prevent suicide.
If you or someone you know is experiencing depression call Life Line on 13 11 14 or visit Beyond Blue.