Nowadays we are surrounded by social media. Everywhere we look there are things pointing towards being online and active on various websites and apps. Whilst this can provide a positive outcome of feeling connected, social media can also have a negative impact on mental health.
Quite often it feels like there is a pressure to be constantly active. We feel like we have to post every little detail about our lives, good, bad and indifferent. This way of life can cause an unnecessary amount of stress. We’re in a time where not wanting to post everything is deemed as odd. We seem to live in a time where socialising through a screen is more common than having a conversation. It’s like we dare not delete our accounts for fear of missing out.
There is this weird pressure to be like everyone else, effectively being like sheep. For some there is a mentality of social media superiority = fame. Likes and follows can make somebody more accepted in a group. Why is everything in life a competition? We always feel the need to compete to make ourselves seem bigger and better than we are. It more often than not has a knock on effect on our mental health. It’s only natural to make comparisons with others but often they don’t help. It’s important to remember that you are you and that’s that.
Whilst freedom of speech is obviously a good thing, sometimes it needs moderation, or at least, some consideration of others. Various social media sites are rife with comments that do the exact opposite of that. Websites that should make us feel safe to post our opinions more than not leave us feeling deflated. The age of the keyboard warrior, who isn’t bothered how a comment can effect someone else. All you need to do is look at Facebook when an important mental health story comes out, some of the disgusting comments on there are just shocking. What’s more worrying is, they get away with it. All it requires is a bit of common sense and decency. A few less derogatory comments about how “mental health isn’t important”, or “it’s not a real illness” would go a long way.
Having said all of that, there is some good things. I’ve noticed in the past few months more and more people are willing to talk openly about their mental health. It IS becoming more accepted, slowly. Social media does make it more accessible to find and ask for help now that most, if not all, of the most popular charities have an online presence (Mind, Rethink, Time to Change).
It’s so important that everyone continues to talk about mental health in order to reduce the stigma once and for all. Social media networks obviously will play a huge part in this, both positively and negatively. It’s up to us to decide which way they continue to develop by the way we conduct ourselves. It is okay to be offline. It’s okay to call somebody and check they’re okay. We don’t need to post every little detail.
I guess the amusing thing is, this post will automatically go to all the most popular social media sites…