SOCIAL MEDIA AND STIGMA SURROUNDING MENTAL ILLNESSES
This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.
As a teenager who has grown up in a world of the internet and social media, the negative effects of social media are prevalent in my life. In this project, I will be displaying information that I have collected on how social media perpetuates negative stigmas surrounding mental illness but also helps to raise awareness about said stigmas. I have personally witnessed social media perpetuate someone’s mental illness so much that they had to be hospitalized. I have also seen social media reach out to those in need of help and help them find a community in which they can share with. Online communities can be a place where those with mental illnesses feel safe to talk about themselves and also where they can meet other people going through the same thing as them.
My target audience is my school community. At my school, social media is extremely prevalent, so being able to raise awareness about the possible effects of something so prevalent is important. Most students are oblivious or not educated about mental illnesses, so they think negatively of those who have them. I am striving to eliminate those negative connotations through the power of social media, but also being cautious about how social media as a tool is being used. It is also important to understand how social media perpetuates these negative connotations surrounding mental illnesses. As a student who witnesses the power of social media every sing day, I think that the downfalls of this tool must be understood, but also social media should be used for educating the masses at a higher rate.
I plan to create a social media campaign for my school. During this campaign, I will be posting anonymous anecdotes of people’s experience with the negative effects of social media on their mental health. In addition to posting these anecdotes, I will also be creating infographics that will be posted on social media platforms with information regarding specific mental illnesses. This will be a way for students to get educated about mental illnesses, and thus teaching them that these illnesses are not scary and that you shouldn’t ostracize those who experience them. Thus, working to eliminate any possible negative stigma surrounding mental illnesses using social media.
(insert SoundCloud audio of interview)
Now I turn to you, the audience, and ask that you reflect on how social media has affected your mental health and the people around you. Do you know someone who has been bullied on social media? Do you know of someone who found a community on a social media platform where they feel comfortable taking about their mental health? Do you think social media perpetuates negative stigma surrounding mental illness? Or do you think that it helps to bring awareness to and educates other about mental illnesses? How does your school educate the students about mental health? Be sure to identify the resources available at your school regarding mental health.
I will be talking to my school counselor about implementing the social media campaign for my school. My school has Instagram accounts and Facebook pages for the newspaper, clubs, and the school as a whole. I could use any or all of these social media accounts to post the content for my campaign. That way, all students of the school will be able to see the content because it will be delivered via pages that they already follow.