“Are you doing well?”
The answer to this question is often directly aimed at a person’s physical state of being – is one’s body in the best of health? Or is the person suffering a headache, a viral infection, or probably a common-cold? How about consulting a doctor and taking medicines? Of course, these are the most practical solutions to combating an illness. But what about a possibly alternative response to the question, which says, “My body feels alright, but my mind does not.” What are the chances that the listener would suggest similar practical solutions to this problem? That’s where the concept and perception of mental health and well-being steps into the picture.
Research on mental health suggests that mental illnesses constitute one-sixth of all health disorders in India. Unfortunately, despite this staggering statistical data, mental health has by far been an extremely neglected and overlooked aspect of personal and emotional well-being. With the cases of depression-led suicide alarmingly increasing each year, it is evident that the world needs to pause and review its perception and measures of Emotional Intelligence alongside IQ and other parameters. Today, the world is advancing like never before, with technology not only escalating processes but also serving as a means of sensitizing the masses about relevant issues, mental health is gradually being provided with the much-needed attention and sensitivity. So, what role is social media playing in spreading the word about mental health, and what is its scope to spread awareness amongst individuals, social media advertising agencies and businesses? Here’s a look:
Social Media as a Platform to Drive Social Change
Social media has always played an integral role in bringing about a difference in people’s perception of important issues that concern the world in general. Here’s a space where hundreds of thousands of people may be addressed together, a junction to discuss and take cognizance of issues that affect each of us in our personal and social lives. Moreover, when it comes to business pages and handles on leading social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, popular brands usually have a wide reach and loyal customers who tend to pay rapt attention to the messages being conveyed by the former. As a result, these brands often have the authority to convey a certain important message in the public domain and act as champions to introduce a positive change.
Mental Health as a Relevant Context for Online Platforms
So, in the wake of the above potential of social media platforms and campaigns to drive social change, here are some reasons why mental health should be an important social theme to be considered by brands:
To break the stigma associated with mental health: While societies are gradually becoming more open to depression, anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions, the awareness about mental health is still very less among the general public. Social media campaigns and posts that spread awareness about the importance of communication and seeking professional help can ensure that the world becomes more empathetic and sensitive towards people suffering from mental health issues.
To enable more people to seek professional help: Many a times, even though individuals may know about mental health and the need to seek help, they might feel apprehensive to reach out due to personal inhibitions and the fear of rejection from the society. Even as social media posts promoting emotional well-being seek to sensitize the society in general about mental health, they simultaneously seek to encourage persons suffering from mental health issues to communicate openly and seek timely help.
“You are not alone”: Just the reassurance that a person is not alone in dealing with a certain mental health issue can have a tremendous positive impact on him/her. It is often this sense of belonging and acceptance that helps one feel comfortable approaching those around him/her. Social media can be a wonderful platform for different individuals to share their struggles and help each other overcome their issues. And brands can act as the initiators of such discussions and social change, by means of creating unique hashtags and encouraging people to engage with their posts.
When it comes to mental health awareness, the need of the hour is to enlighten more and more individuals to get rid of the stigma and taboo associated with the topic. Media and popular culture constitute very important platforms for people to express themselves and seek timely help. Moreover, social media is a creative platform, and it has the ability to captivate its audiences through unique and innovative strategies. Brands, digital marketing agencies and individual users can leverage this medium and reach out to more and more people through their posts and ads.