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Social Media is Changing the Way We Talk About Mental Health

Social Media is Changing the Way We Talk About Mental Health

Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are extremely common in the United States with nearly one in five U.S adults living with some sort of mental illness (more than 46 million in 2017). Living with a mental health issue can be extremely isolating, and hard to talk about especially with the stigma surrounding mental health. 

 

However, lately, we’ve seen a rise in people not just talking about-but being completely open and transparent about living with mental health issues on their social media platforms. This has been happening over the past few years, with people using hashtags like #ownyourstigma #TalkingAboutIt and #normalizenormalbodies- when talking about body issues and learning to love yourself. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have become almost a community or ‘group therapy’ for people dealing with similar mental health issues or self-esteem issues to find each other and connect, or simply tell their stories. This is because people can find others using hashtags, so they feel more connected and less alone knowing there are other people out there dealing with the same struggles they are. 

 

Public figures and even celebrities have hopped on the band-wagon and shared their struggles with mental health and opened up the conversation. Celebrities like Dwayne ‘the rock’ Johnson, Jameela Jamil– who spoke about mental health during COVID, and singer Ariana Grande have all taken to social media to talk openly about their struggles with mental health and inspire others to do the same. Sammy Nickalls created the hashtag #LetsTalkAboutIt in 2015 after looking into a University of Michigan study that found social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be detrimental to people’s mental health due to the ‘highlight reel’ aspect of social media. “When all you see are highlights from people’s lives, social media encourages comparisons, FOMO [fear of missing out], all that good stuff,” Nickalls said. “That’s why I wanted to start #TalkingAboutIt — because if we’re open about the dark times, too, social media will be less likely to make users feel lonely and like their lives don’t measure up” said Nickalls. 

 

Human connection is especially crucial during this time in the world, and social media is allowing us to do just that. However, turning to social media to talk about your struggles-although a great outlet- should not be the first place you go for support. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please seek out help from professionals or traditional support groups.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, head over to our website to learn more about our licensed therapists who are providing face to face in office sessions, as well as online Telehealth sessions to those living in North Carolina.