It's National Social Media Day: Use it for a Good Cause
For National Social Media Day, we wanted to discuss with you some practical ways social media can benefit mental health beyond mental health blogs. It’s not a secret that social media has been so how can we allow our use of social media to aid the cause of suicide prevention? Read on and then let us know some other great ideas in the comments below.
Social media doesn’t have to be evil, but it’s often disconcerting to hear so many people who have struggled with depression or anxiety or worse as a result of the dark side of social media. Isn’t it sad that in a world where we are all so connected that so many of us can still feel so alone? A survey in 2018 revealed that up to 46% of Americans feel alone sometimes or all the time. Not to mention, suicide rates have risen 30% in the last two decades. This doesn’t seem like coincidence! So, what good can come of social media? Here are some ideas:
Use it to spread awareness.
This is probably what social media is most used for in the mental health world. From hashtag campaigns like #stopthestigma (or even our very own #savehairsavelives) to infographics about suicide rates to people posting photos of their semi-colon for the semi-colon project. These types of awareness campaigns can be incredibly effective in educating the general public if done well. By the way, see our article on appropriate ways to report on suicide here.
Reach out to a friend to set up a hang out IRL (in real life).
Just using social media as a catalyst for setting up healthy interactions is one way to go. You can reach out through messenger on Facebook and Instagram, or you can create a fun event for friends and send the invitations through social media. Make it creative and send reminders to get your friends excited!
Create a charitable fund.
A lot of people have used platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote a charitable fund they care about. Facebook makes it easy to set up a way for people to ask for donations for their birthday or just when you feel like it. Just go to the top toolbar, click on “Create” and then click on “Fundraiser”. This process should not take longer than just a few minutes! If you like us on Facebook, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to donate to suicide prevention causes that we support!
Become familiar with certain mental health issues.
Search for and follow counseling centers, mental health websites like The Mighty and other non-profit organizations. Most of these kinds of sites offer not just personal anecdotes about mental health topics, but also information about new research, statistics, and opportunities to help. We like to follow the since they do a great job providing easy to read and follow information about suicide prevention.
Tell your story or validate someone else’s story.
This tactic is becoming popular for a reason- it helps people! Telling our own story can be very difficult. There is a risk involved that many people aren’t willing to take. However, taking that risk might lift up others, or even save a life! Talking about what life is like after surviving a friend or family member’s suicide has shown to help with recovery, but also to deter potential suicide in others. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or constant. If you aren’t quite ready to tell your story, you could validate someone else’s. If one of your friends or family members posts their own story or struggle with something, you can comment with words of encouragement, or a resource for them. If what they say is a cry for help, try to respond appropriately and quickly with a phone call or in person. Suicidal ideation through social media can be a precursor to an attempt.
Create a supportive community surrounding a mental health issue you care about.
No one said you have to meet with a support group in person! You may not be able to connect with too many people in your own circle of friends for certain mental health topics, but there are people out there who are looking for someone to connect with. That’s why we often write about suicide on our social media sites and collaborate with other sites. We want to be part of and contribute to that community as best we can, and help others feel like they aren’t alone in their struggles.
Do you have some creative ways that you’ve used social media for mental health awareness? We are always open to suggestions!
We believe in using our platform to benefit others- that's why we promote suicide prevention at every chance we can. We want to hear your story of conquering a mental health issue, or how you were able to help others. Write your story on your SM and tag us #savehairsavelives to show that you support our cause to prevent suicide.