Social Media and Mental Health
by Geoff Gillette
With so many people living their lives through the lens of social media, it is no surprise that on occasion you will run across a post that seems to be a clear cry for help.
For some, it creates an opportunity to open a dialogue, for others it creates a conundrum. Perhaps they don’t know how to answer that cry, or don’t know how to approach the person, for fear that they are overreacting.
So what can be done and how does one try to help when confronted with such an issue?
Facebook is working to answer that riddle by allowing users a way to send help to a poster who may be in crisis.
In an attempt to help with depression and mental illness, Facebook is providing a tool to help friends of those who may be suffering. In her article in Groundswell, Kelsey Ryan talked about the difficulty that many face in confronting the issue of mental illness and how the tool could provide some avenues of rendering assistance.
The way the tool would work is that if you see a post from someone that appears to be having an issue and could be in need of counseling or help, you can click on the drop-down box at the top right corner. Clicking the "I don’t want to see this" will open up a short survey. The following pictures will show the drop downs and where they lead.
If the user clicks on a box demonstrating concern, it will prompt a message to the original poster that a friend was concerned and offer potential avenues of getting assistance.
Facebook is one of several social media outlets that are starting to create means for individuals to seek help for those who may be in need and unable to reach out for it. Users of Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are also working on ways that users can report concerns about posts that could be interpreted to be a cry for help.
Facebook and other social media sites are getting behind Prevent the Attempt, which helps provide the tools to businesses on how to deal with issues of suicidal thoughts or mental health issues online.
More and more people are taking to the Internet to look for answers when it comes to the challenges they are facing in life. Hopefully, these tools will be the start to giving them the help they need.
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