During 2020 many people turned to social media for connection, updates, and distraction.
While social media has been a part of our culture for two decades, more and more platforms have become available, and information is now more accessible than ever.
This has also been true for mental health information. Social media has been a huge part of challenging the stigma around mental health by providing more access to mental health information. There are many accounts on each social media platform offering information and insight to #mentalheath.
Many people have found validation in these accounts. Some people have felt comforted in knowing they are not alone and understanding that they are not the only one challenged by mental health issues. Others have learned coping skills presented in minute long videos to help learn emotional regulation. Social media has made mental health information accessible to those who may have barriers to traditional mental health services. Many of the individuals presenting this information so this with the hope of positively helping their followers understand the impact of mental health while continuing to reduce the stigma around mental health.
While these accounts and information aim to be helpful and informative, it is important to remember that social media is distilled information meant to be consumed in a brief moment. Not all social media mental health information is accurate, shared by professionals, and it is certainly not tailored to an individual person and their experience. One of the biggest risks of relying on social media for mental health help is that a person may delay seeking professional help even when their mental health distress is severely impacting their daily life. Social media can be informational, but it is not diagnostic and cannot be personal.
When you are engaging with mental health social media, remember these things:
- Check for credentials - what perspective informs the information being shared?
- Creators are unable to reliably diagnose or give medical advice over social media
- The information is simplified and made for quick consumption - there is likely much more information that will be relevant, but there is no way to share all of it in a post or video
- Be careful of creators selling products intended to “fix” your mental health - there is no quick fix to addressing mental health
- You can always talk with a professional about what you see on social media - bring the information you find on social media to a professional and learn how or if it relates to your personal experience and goals for mental wellness
Have you seen something on social media that has made an impact on how you view your mental health? Is there something you would like to explore and understand better? Make an appointment with our office today!