08:40 02nd Dec, 2019
Social Media and Mental Health
Mental health has emerged as a major concern for India over the past decade. Can social media play a part in the solution
Every millennial alive has heard the news: we’re a lazy, entitled, selfie-stick-waving generation. But we’re also the generation most conscious about deteriorating standards of mental health in our country. After all, what’s the point of a $5 trillion economy if half the population is too depressed to enjoy it?
Of course, that’s assuming we get there, what with half the population being depressed and all.
India is the most depressed country in the world, and the common refrain is that we’re depressed because we spend too much time on our smartphones and not enough interacting with actual people. But there are always two sides to every coin- just as overuse (and wrong use) of social media can trigger mental health issues, there’s also enormous support to be found on an online community.
Please note that this is not a replacement for actual therapy, but instead, should be used as an aid during the counselling process (depending on what your counsellor says).
Don’t underrate the power of social media- several bloggers and vloggers, especially on Instagram and YouTube, have dedicated handles to discuss their mental health journeys and are often free with offering up helpful resources and suggestions on how to manage a particularly nasty anxiety attack.
Keep in mind that these are usually not licensed professionals, though- most of the time, they are ordinary people who hope that their experiences might help make a difference to others in some way.
That being said, there’s often a measure of reassurance to be found in the simple knowledge that there are others going through similar struggles, and that there is a supportive community just a tap away, if you need it.
Tracking a tag such as #depression, #mentalhealthawareness, #anxietytips can help- of course, you can’t control what shows up in Insta search,, but the mindful bloggers usually put trigger warnings (sometimes abbreviated as t/w) in their captions or the first picture of a slideshow. Following a few well-known bloggers who discuss both the ups and downs of their mental health struggles can help gain insight into the community.
Sometimes, a social media detox is necessary- in other cases, not using social media to connect and interact with a supportive community (or simply to seek positivity) can heighten the feelings of detachment and isolation associated with depression. This is not to say that obsessively checking Insta all day while lying in bed is the solution- but on the days when you find it difficult to interact with people, it might lessen the sense of disconnect.
Social media is a powerful tool- elections are won and lost on Twitter. It can be a wormhole if you’re not careful; but mindful use- while getting real help from a real therapist- can actually do a great deal to bring you out of a mental fog and back into contact with the world.
Food pics, though? Still not sure about those.
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