Mental health is a very sensitive subject to post about on social media especially when a poster chooses to make light of the suffering of others. Kanye West and Britney Spears, who both have a mental illness, have been the subject of numerous memes and jokes, mocking their behaviors using terms like “crazy” and “insane.”
Whether it is a celebrity, a stranger, or someone you know, it is important to always show empathy and respect in dealing with personal subjects such as mental health and substance use disorders.
Not to “Diagnose” Someone on Social Media
Mental illnesses are very complex and even seasoned professionals can have difficulty pinpointing an accurate diagnosis. Someone’s exhibiting abnormal behavior does not give us permission to label them with a diagnosis. Doing so can be devastating to the person being named, humiliate them and make their condition worse. It can also invite judgements and scorn from others, which will have a negative effect on the subject.
What Language to Avoid
Calling someone “crazy,” “insane,” “overmedicated” or using other insensitive language can perpetuate negative stereotypes of mental illness. It dismisses the pain of the suffering and belittles them. The stigma of such words can also prevent people from seeking the professional help they need to manage their symptoms.
Not Posting Sometimes the Right Thing to Do
While much progress has been made in developing understanding and empathy around mental health disorders, as a society we have a long way to go. It is important to cultivate a culture of empathy and understanding around mental health issues and those who live with them. Using social media to call attention to someone’s unusual behavior and labeling them using words such as “crazy” or “insane” only worsens the situation. In truth, only trained professionals can diagnose mental illness. So the next time you are tempted to post, share or retweet something that may cast a shadow of mental illness on someone, resist the urge and leave it to the experts.
Living with a mental illness is no joke. At Alta Loma we treat people suffering from behavioral health or substance abuse issues with the respect and empathy they need and deserve. Our knowledgeable, compassionate professionals understand addiction in all its forms and will work with you to develop a plan that suits your unique needs. Our all male program specializes in helping men with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders achieve the emotional and psychological stability that will allow them to focus on sustainable, long-term recovery. Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alta Loma Transformational Living offers a wide array of tools and a comprehensive continuum of care to aid you through every step of your recovery journey. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take a step toward sustained recovery, call us at (866) 457-3843.