Impact Of Social Media On Psychiatry

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Reflect on the impact of Social Media on Mental Illness and modern psychiatry

We are currently living in a world that is changing at an unprecedented speed. A world in which not only the technology we utilize on a daily basis is always in an ever-evolving state, but more interestingly, the way in which we use this technology is changing as well. With almost one third of the World’s population actively using Facebook alone every month, we must look beyond the superficial uses of social media as simply tools for talking to friends and family and begin to think about what impact it has on our mental health. In particular, the impact of social media on mental illness and the field of modern psychiatry will be explored. Mental illness is a leading
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In this sense, social media networks allow for those living with more stigmatized illnesses, like mental illness, to connect with others. These individuals ‘connect’ with one another through groups that are referred to as “peer-to-peer support” groups, the goal of which his to help each other live with their illness and to learn about coping strategies and other treatments that may be available by sharing one another’s experiences. These online peer-to-peer support groups have many positive benefits to their users. However, there are certain negative effects that are being discovered as…show more content…
To begin, I believe social media allows people to access information and articles that contain information about mental illness and to share people’s experiences living with their illnesses. This may serve to allow an individual with a mental illness to feel that they are not alone and that there are others living with similar conditions. This can help to reduce feelings of despair and hopelessness and act to boost motivation to seek professional help or at least to explore online forums, blogs and groups to seek self-help. As well, access to online information also means that there is ample access to patient education resources which allows an individual to better understand their condition. In my opinion, on of the most beneficial uses of social media for those living with mental illness is the formation of ‘peer-to-peer’ support groups. Studies have shown that it is important for individuals to feel connected to others and to share a sense of belonging to a group (Brewer, 1991). In 1998, a study by Mckenna and Bargh found that identifying with a social group increased an individual’s self-esteem and reduced uncertainty about oneself. A major aspect of this is the realization that they are not alone in their fight and that there are others encountering similar hardships. Studies have shown that realizing others face similar problems, frustrations and
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