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How to Combat Mental Health Stigma with Trending Posts

November 27, 2016 Laura Barton

You can use trending social media posts to combat mental health stigma. Every once in a while, a “copy and paste this post” about mental illness will make its way across social media (Use Social Media to Combat Mental Health Stigma). These posts are typically short or a couple paragraphs long, which is likely how they gain traction since short and sweet is easier to deal with and then move on from. That being said, these trending posts about mental health usually don’t do much to combat stigma.

I bring this up because there was a post I saw recently which intended to demonstrate to people who struggle with thoughts of suicide that there are people out there who do listen. I had a few problems with this post in terms of the language used and so forth, but I’m going to focus on the fact that this short, two sentence post didn’t do anything to challenge stigma.

Transforming Trending Posts to Fight Mental Health Stigma

Trending posts about mental illness don't often combat stigma. Here's how you can tweak the trending post just a bit and make a big difference.Many, although not all, of the mental health copy-paste, trending posts on the Internet, while well intended, don’t do much more than say that a mental illness exists, that it affects people, and that there are people out there who will support those with mental illnesses. That’s all well and good, and maybe it will engage a few people beyond the copy and paste stage, but I think if a post is trending, then we should use it to the best of our abilities and give it the opportunity to have an even bigger impact.

Before anyone starts panicking, I’m not asking people to out themselves. I know not everyone is comfortable with sharing about his or her mental illness, and that is perfectly okay.

What I’m asking is that if we see a post that says something along the lines of “Copy and paste this post to raise awareness for depression. You’re not alone,” take that a step further and include a link to depression information and resources. It’s just a link, and that way those who want more information know where to look for it.

Why Mental Health Information Makes a Difference in Trending Posts to Combat Stigma

One of the things I’ve learned as a writer is making every word count. I had one professor in university that said if he was finished reading a sentence, or an entire essay, and was left with the question, “So what?” that was a problem. And I think that translates over to these trending posts as well.

Just pointing out that mental illnesses exist, that people suffer with them, and that people are there to listen doesn’t do much besides that. Let’s go back to that theoretical post I made above: “Copy and paste this post to raise awareness for depression. You are not alone.” Okay, that’s nice. Now what? Where do people go from here?

Many people aren’t sure how to reach out or what mental illness really encompasses. It would be great if people would be proactive and search for these things afterwards, but let’s make it easier for them by giving a link, especially to a source that we know and trust is going to give the correct information. (There are too many websites full of misinformation and outdated information out there.) Taking that extra step and providing that link will help inform people and information is one of our greatest tools against stigma. That will combat mental health stigma with a trending post.

So next time you come across one of those posts, find a link that you trust and include it with the post. That way when someone shares it from you, they can take that along with it.

You can find Laura on Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Facebook and her blog; also see her book, Project Dermatillomania: The Stories Behind Our Scars.

APA Reference
Barton, L. (2016, November 27). How to Combat Mental Health Stigma with Trending Posts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2016/11/how-to-combat-mental-health-stigma-with-trendy-posts



Author: Laura Barton

Laura Barton is a fiction and non-fiction writer from the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada. Find her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.

Dr Musli Ferati
says:
December, 2 2016 at 3:26 am
The postmodern way of interpersonal communication exhibits greats possibilities of information that may be contradictory, because there are a lot of unproven and non-professional data that spreading through diverse social networks. As to pertain to mental health stigma, it may to say that the trending post of mental health stigma is of crucial important to avoid and to decrease the atavistic and primitive prejudice and misunderstanding on mental illnesses and their treatment. But it exist the dangerous to get mistake and non-precise information on appropriate and professional psychiatric treatment and management of different mental disorders. The best way to prevent the unpredictable consequences of on-line data is to require adequate data on mental issues from licenced experts of mental health near your settlement. By me as clinical psychiatrist the importance of trending post have got considerable contribute to combat stigma on mental health/illnesses, but their non-critical overuses introduced serious damage of mental health. Therefore. it ought to be careful on veracity and origin of the same information. Without open and sincere conversation with any specialist of mental health it isn't advisable to consume or use any mental health help or intervention. Non-approved and prohibited intervention are forbiden in current clinical psychiatry.

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