When we speak of living healthy, the first thought that comes to mind is going to the gym and eating clean. Our interpretation of what it means to be healthy is often correlated only with our physical being. While this is correct, we often overlook the world of mental health.
Mental health is defined as the health and well-being of our minds. The conversation surrounding mental health has come a long way from a few centuries ago. In the beginning, it was considered some form of demonic possession that was treated with an exorcism. Over time, more research was done on mental health and people began to realize that it is a medical condition that can be treated. Significant progress has been made in the field of psychology, neuroscience, and other disciplines to help understand what goes on in our heads.
Over time, new ways were found to treat mental health issues effectively. During that time, the internet also appeared and began gaining immense popularity. One of the by-products of this was the creation of online communities. These communities allowed people from different walks of life to come together and feel included. Online communities were able to gain enough traction and become a dominant voice in the mental health space. This article will expound on this and talk about the internet helped push the conversation regarding mental health.
The Impact Of Social Media On Mental Health
In recent times, social media has had a profound impact on the world around us. It has also had a significant impact on mental health. There are a whole host of positives and negatives that social media has been responsible for.
The negative effects of social media include:
- Addiction to social media
- Comparisons to fabricated lies on the internet
- Uncontrollable bullying
- Fear of missing out causes people to feel as if they
are missing out on travel, money, or experiences
- Feelings of loneliness despite having multiple
connections across different social networks
- Drastically reduced attention span owing to our habit
of constantly scrolling.
The positive effects of social media include:
- Social support from different communities
- Free access to countless mental health resources to
learn various things
- The ability to express yourself more freely
- The opportunity to build communities for like-minded
- The perfect tool to create awareness for mental health
issues along with raising a voice for the issues that need dealing with
The Benefits Of Online Communities for Mental Health
Thanks to the internet, we have seen the formation of online communities for mental health. These are digital safe spaces where people who go through different mental health challenges can come together to:
- Support members of their community.
- Use the various resources that allow you to improve
your mental health.
- Reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness that
many people suffer from.
- Reduce the stigma around mental health and make people
feel comfortable sharing their plight with others.
- Empower people with the belief that they are bigger
than the problems in their heads.
- Give people the mental strength to deal with and manage
the issues they go through daily.
These communities could be closed groups on social media where people can discuss how to solve different hurdles that they face every day.
As a species, human beings are inherently more at ease when part of a community. Being a member of a community allows us to be surrounded by other people with shared goals, interests, and thought processes. Simply having the right people around you can make you feel a sense of belonging which is often the first step in getting mental health. When someone simply knows that there is someone there for them, they get the strength and mental reinforcement that they are not alone. After this, they are able to talk about the issues they suffer from, reach out to people that can help, and embark on a journey to fix their mental health.
For example, on Instagram, you will often find profiles of fitness professionals that coach their audiences on how to exercise
for particular goals. They share knowledge on nutrition and how to manage your diet for better results. In between, they also sprinkle motivational content to keep you going. This creates an online community that the audience can relate
On Facebook, a wellness group can share daily updates on how to live a more fulfilling life, different actionable steps that make it easier to manage your mental health, and so much more than can make these issues just a little bit easier to live with.
The Future Of Mental Health and Online Communities
Online communities for all sorts of activities are known to be safe spaces where members can find a sense of belonging. Whether it is mental health,
gaming, reading, cooking, board games, or bird watching, an online community is often a lot stronger than an in-person community. It can have members from all over the globe pooling in their knowledge and experiences that allow them to
teach and learn from people all over. It can connect novices with experts,
establish meaningful connections, and be an immense source of support.
Furthermore, online communities make the process of educating the masses on mental health issues. It can teach people that outdated mental stigmas no longer mean anything. It allows us to bridge the gap between a patient and the help they desperately need. They might not interact with someone in the community but reading a post or seeing photos of someone else who made it through can serve as motivation for them. It can be the catalyst that sets off a chain reaction that ends with that person getting treatment for mental health challenges. The scale and possibilities that the internet is capable of reaching are truly unbelievable. It sometimes doesn’t feel real that so much is possible with the internet but shockingly, it is.
Mental health continues to be one of the most important topics of discussion nowadays. With the internet, this discussion has been able to spread far and wide prompting a global change. This change will surely pave the way for more widespread changes in the mental health world. Thanks to the internet, the sky is the limit when it comes to adding more value to our lives. Using a stable and smooth internet connection, we can help or get the help needed to solve mental health challenges. Optimum’s internet will continue to be one of the most reliable ISPs that can offer you the value needed to begin working on your mental health.