Mental health plays a big role in our overall health and well being. Yet, there is still a stigma behind it. Conversations about mental health are something that many individuals have tried to avoid.
However, in recent years it has become more and more common for individuals to open up about mental health. Through social media there have been countless posts shared with resources, personal stories and motivational posts to show support. The content that has been shared is helping to normalize the discussion of mental health and mental illness and break the stigma behind it.
Social media isn’t all that bad. Like everything in life, there are pros and cons. However, social media has given individuals a platform to open up and share their stories and experiences and this has become increasingly more common. With about 4.62 billion social media users, the posts we share have the possibility of reaching more people than we could imagine.
The hashtag #mentalhealth on Instagram has over 36,000,000 posts. Under the hashtag, there are posts of important reminders, resources, inspiration and personal experiences of others. On social media, many individuals repost and share the inspirational messages and resources on their stories and feeds for people in their own life to see.
On TikTok, the hashtag #mentalhealth has 35.3 billion views and #mentalhealthmatters has 17.5 billion views. Many videos under these hashtags are short, uplifting TikToks, personal stories and resources available to help.
We never know who is struggling and who the posts might help. The National Alliance of Mental health reports that 21% of adults in the U.S. are affected by mental illness. Simply reposting a list of mental health resources or sharing that you are someone who cares can have a positive impact on the people around us. It’s important to show support and understanding to those who might be struggling.
Many social media users have been flooding the platforms with helpful and informative posts. By doing this they are opening up conversations and helping to make social media a more positive and safe space. These safe spaces on social media can help users find resources and feel less alone with what they are going through.
A study done by the Journal of Education and Health Promotion studied campaigns and posts on various social media platforms to find if social media is an effective tool for increasing mental health awareness.
Their conclusion stated, “Using social media platforms to conduct mental health campaigns is an effective initiative as one can reach out to many people over a short time frame. With the help of technology, participants could virtually be a part of the campaign easily. There is an increasing trend in mental health awareness by effectively using digital media as an information dissemination platform.”
The more open we are the more we talk about how we are doing mentally, the more others will feel less alone. Social media is powerful: let’s use it in a way to help and support each other.
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Julianna is a senior majoring in journalism and sociology. She enjoys writing and reporting on topics related to mental and physical health and wellness.