Social Media for Mental Health Initiatives

Social Media for Mental Health Initiatives

Gemma Richardson (Humber College, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3716-8.ch008

Abstract

Social media has added a new dynamic for those living with mental illness. There are several benefits to using social media to obtain information and support for mental health issues, but there are also new challenges and drawbacks. This chapter explores social media for mental health initiatives, with a focus on two case studies: Facebook's suicide prevention tools and the Bell Let's Talk campaign. These case studies highlight the unique ways that social media can be harnessed to raise awareness and provide support and resources to vulnerable populations, while also providing insights into the challenges of utilizing these platforms.
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Use Of Social Media For Mental Health Initiatives

While social media adds new dynamics and possibilities for mental health initiatives, the use of the Internet has long had strong appeal to people with stigmatized illnesses who wish to obtain information or assistance (Klein & Wilson, 2002; Berger, Wagner & Baker, 2005). Some forms of stigma can be avoided through anonymously seeking information online about mental illness. There are social media sites that build on this appeal by allowing created identities if the user desires (including Twitter, Instagram and Reddit) while others seek to remove anonymity (including Facebook, where users are strongly encouraged to use real names and have friends and family attached to their account who can see their posts and Facebook-related affiliations).

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