By: Mary Grlic
Image via Mashable.
You are not alone in the battle. Your voice is worth hearing. Mental health is something that so many individuals struggle with, yet people often demonize and shun the challenges those struggling face.
Shining a light on their struggles, many social media influencers have been opening up and fueling the conversation about mental health to help create a safe and welcoming environment for followers. For years, mental illnesses have been stigmatized as something evil, overdramatized, and distorted, especially in the media. Celebrities in the public eye struggling with mental illnesses are often portrayed as dangerous, vilified, ridiculed, and feared. It can be challenging for influencers to open up about their personal struggles as they may expect backlash or negative feedback from the public. However, many influencers and social media accounts are starting to destigmatize the conversation about mental health by sharing their experiences and showing others that their struggles are understood, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
One Youtube influencer who is normalizing the topic of mental health is Emma Chamberlain. On each of her social media platforms, she is very open about her struggles, sharing her personal experiences while inspiring others. Her podcast touches on important issues such as body image, anxiety, burnout, stress, and more. In an interview with Vogue, Emma spoke about how she struggles with striving for perfectionism and how the pressures of social media cause her a lot of anxiety. Her ability to be so open has helped many viewers cope with their personal struggles, as her words resonate with so many young viewers of the same age.
Opening up and being vulnerable about mental health can make users feel more connected to their favorite influencers, recognizing that behind the seemingly glamorous and perfectly-filtered lifestyle, celebrities continue to struggle with the same things we do on a daily basis. This humanizing connection makes us feel less alone and more understood, validating our experiences as something that even people who seem to have a perfect life can understand.
Although more influencers and platforms are sharing their experiences through social media, there is also a lot of misrepresentation and misinformation on the internet regarding mental health. This can further stigmatize mental illnesses, and sometimes even cause some users to misdiagnose themselves, which can be very harmful. Some TikTok posts mislead users by creating overgeneralization with statements such as “signs that you have OCD,” or, “these habits may mean you have an eating disorder.” While these posts may open up the conversation and allow people to learn more about what they are struggling with, it can also generalize and invalidate those struggling with such mental health issues. Not to mention that these posts can be incredibly inaccurate and misleading. It is important to check for credentials and keep in mind that not every account is perfectly accurate or catered towards every individual.
Social media has brought a lot of benefits to the conversation of mental health, especially with influencers who feel comfortable sharing their vulnerability with others. By normalizing mental health, they have made it something that we are not as afraid to talk about. Mental health is very important and should never be shunned or criticized, and as we see influencers and celebrities struggling with the same issues, it makes us feel less alone. Normalizing the topic of mental health is extremely helpful in creating a safe, loving environment where we can all feel welcomed and loved.
Written by writer Mary Grlic.