ow influencers are spreading misinformation about mental health
Nowadays, it seems like so much of our lives are influenced by what we see on social media. When it comes to mental health, stigma is alive and well. This stigma can present an issue in the adult and youth population, as many avoid treatment out of fear of embarrassment. When faced with a lack of social support, many turn to social media to find relatable content creators for comfort. While content creators focused on mental health are great for eliminating stigma, the rise in people using social media may not be all good news.
While social media influencers may not have ill intentions, their job is to generate views on their page for ad revenue, and they often need to create large amounts of content to engage as many users as possible. With this in mind, facts and evidence-based practices may take a backseat.
While there is nothing wrong with using personal experiences to raise awareness about mental illness, there is no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to mental health. When watching mental health content on social media, be mindful of influencers using uniform solutions for mental health issues. Oftentimes, many influencers are drawing from their limited experiences, which leads to gaps in knowledge that can result in misinformation. It's important to remind ourselves that many mental health content creators are not licensed practitioners and may not have the qualifications to offer quality mental health advice.
Raising awareness for social media can provide support and inspire you to make a positive change. However, if you find yourself struggling with mental health, it may be best to seek a mental health professional. Social media cannot replace treatment from a therapist and can have adverse effects if we take everything that is posted online as fact.
Ariana is a student counselor at Sul Ross University and under the supervision of Aimee Rhodes. Ariana works with teens and adults dealing with anxiety, depression, life adjustment issues and grief.
Elizabeth Oldham is an LPC-S and co-founder of Transform & Renew, PLLC. She specializes in co-dependency, anxiety and OCD, depression and mood disorders.