Between Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and more, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with others. You can share details of your life and find other people who are going through similar experiences, or simply make some local (and long distance) friends. As mental illness is becoming more acceptable to discuss openly, social media has the potential to reel in more support. Consider your current social media accounts. Have you spoken with others about mental illness? Even if you haven’t, there are many accounts for mental health organizations and advocates for various type of mental illnesses – making it easier than ever to connect.
Previous research has shown us that social support is incredibly important when it comes to recovery – we need people who believe in us and want us to succeed, even if those individuals are part of the healthcare team at our treatment center. Social media can be an excellent way to find the type of support you need. A 2014 study conducted by researchers from The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science sought to explore the interplay between those who upload videos to YouTube (people with mental illness) and the interaction and support they receive through the platform. Researchers analyzed 19 videos uploaded by individuals who identified as having schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder, and a total of 3,044 comments were assessed. Four themes of support emerged from the comments posted:
- Minimizing a sense of isolation and providing hope
- Finding support through peer exchange and reciprocity
- Sharing strategies for coping with day-to-day challenges of severe mental illness
- Learning from shared experiences of medication use and seeking mental health care
Overall, these themes were found to help individuals find a shared sense of meaning for having a mental illness. While it cannot be guaranteed that all social media platforms or attempts could result this way, it is certainly one outlook that could be considered. While speaking with others about mental illness is an excellent opportunity to shed light on assorted topics that may have stigmas, seeking treatment is another crucial step that can greatly help an individual move forward with their recovery. If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today to learn more about options that would best suit your needs.
Tree House Recovery, a men’s residential treatment center in Portland, focuses on brain building exercises, therapies, and lifestyle development to help men gain control of their lives. Teaching men how to be free from addiction, we’re creating change, sustainably. Call us today for more information: (503) 850-2474