Social media may get a bad rep when it comes to mental health but you can’t deny that it’s helped bring awareness to lots of different issues. When something gets shared and it goes viral, there’s not an awful lot of people who don’t end up seeing it at some point. Mental health awareness is good, it bridges a gap between people who are experiencing the thing and people who aren’t experiencing the thing. It teaches us about things we’d never heard of before, it teaches us how to be more sensitive to one another about certain things and it reminds us to keep the conversation going.
There are SOME aspects about mental health awareness campaigns however, that piss me off.
Things I Hate About Mental Health Awareness Campaigns:
During a campaign you will generally see a fuck-ton of copy and paste Facebook statuses, that include absolutely no information whatsoever but the tired old phrasing of “Post this on your wall in aid of Mental Health Awareness, I bet none of my friends will post this. Comment ‘done’ blah blah blah”
I really don’t see how a status you didn’t write, saying it’s Mental Health Awareness week with instructions on how to copy and paste it, is AT ALL helpful.
It says nothing about why you’re campaigning for awareness, it says nothing about WHAT you’re campaigning for or how the person reading can help.
This isn’t spreading awareness or helping anyone, it’s lazy and self-serving.
I’ll also bet that a majority of the sheeple copying and pasting these statuses, will not give a shit about mental health or raising awareness about mental health any other time of the year, once it’s not trendy anymore. I’ve seen people sharing these crap copy and pastes, full well knowing that they have either a) dismissed my mental illness or b) contributed to it.
4 Things You Can Do To Spread REAL Awareness:
There are much better ways of spreading real awareness during mental health campaigns, awareness that actually helps people and doesn’t just serve to make you look good.
Share the symptoms and what to look for.
If you’re trying to spread awareness about a particular mental illness, then share a list of symptoms. So many people go undiagnosed and some real facts and symptoms being shared during a campaign, may help someone piece things together for themselves. It may be the push they need to seek a diagnosis and treatment. It also makes other people aware that someone who doesn’t talk much, may be suffering from social anxiety and not being rude, or that someone who sleeps a lot may be suffering from depression and aren’t just being lazy.
Suggest ways to get help or to help others.
Share some tips on how to help someone with a mental illness and include resources that someone with a mental illness can access themselves, to get the help they need. There are plenty of helplines, online therapy resources, books, Facebook groups etc. that people can access for free or cheap. Check out my resources page for some ideas.
Share your own story.
What better way to spread mental health awareness than to talk about YOUR experience. A real life experience is far more captivating and gets the point across much better than a shitty copy and paste status that most people would skip past. You would be surprised how many of your friends and family will identify with what you’ve been through, or will realise how they can be more understanding of people going through something similar to you.
If you’re not ready to share your own story, share someone else’s. There’s a plethora of blogs out there, talking about mental health.
Some links of mine you are welcome to share:
Keep the conversation going.
Mental health campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness Week or Time To Talk Day only happen once a year but that doesn’t mean the conversation has to stop until the next time it comes around. KEEP TALKING. Keep raising that awareness, keep being there for others.
Above all, don’t let people treat mental health awareness as a fashion statement.