When we think of social media and mental health, it tends to be a negative association. There are countless studies and stories about people developing depression or anxiety because of their time spent on social media. However, there’s another side to the story of mental health and social media.
Social Media Facilitates Mental Health Support
Social media can provide mental health support. There are many people suffering from mental illness who don’t receive support from the people closest to them. They often turn to the Internet to search for encouragement from the online mental health community.
Mental illness can warp reality and make you feel like you’re the only one experiencing the symptoms. It can be very lonely and discouraging if there’s no one in your life who understands what you’re going through.
Utilizing social media for mental health purposes gives you the chance to search for forums, articles, and videos about mental health. There is a wealth of information that can bring comfort and guidance (Social Media Can Benefit Mental Health).
Social Media and Mental Health Stories
I began opening up about my mental illness on social media almost five years ago. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I started posting videos of myself talking about my depression and my electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments. There were very few personal testimonies about peoples’ experience with ECT online, so I thought that maybe by posting my videos, I could help someone.
After the first few videos, I began to receive comments and emails. People from all over the world were sharing their own stories with me. Many of them told me they had no supportive friends or family at home. The fact that I had opened up about my struggle with mental illness made them feel like they weren’t alone.
Social Media Created a Mental Health Community
Not only was I able to respond to the comments, but people were replying to each other, offering advice and support to one another. It was amazing to see how everyone came together, united by our battle with mental illness.
The community that formed because of my videos has allowed me to share resources as well. I can recommend articles or books and inform people about websites that provide information about mental health treatments and others’ testimonies detailing their own journeys.
Social media gave me an opportunity to open up about my own struggles with mental health, and it has helped many other people feel understood and encouraged. I hope that by spreading mental health awareness through different social media platforms, people can find hope and support.
What are ways you use social media to help your mental health? I would love to hear your thoughts.