As a consequence of his investigation into abnormal behavior, Jamal has begun to realize that the simple notion of mental illness often contains a hidden and undesirable message: In some cases, having a mental illness could imply that a person is deficient, unwhole, or broken. Jamal has also learned that the stigma associated with mental illness could cause some individuals to delay or even refuse to seek treatment for their condition. In fact, Jamal’s review of the research on stigma and mental illness points to one very concerning piece of evidence: When sufferers feel stigmatized, they are not only less likely to seek help, but they are more likely to further withdraw, isolate, and feel powerless over their condition.
When Jamal decided to explore how people are using social media to promote mental health, he was shocked by what he found: A search using the key phrase mental health yielded over 50 million results. With every scroll and click, Jamal found himself immersed in mental health messaging. From psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to counselors, coaches, and people who simply called themselves advocates, mental health influencers were seemingly everywhere. However, unlike his friends and family members who can’t seem to get enough of social media, Jamal often feels even more stressed and depressed after a long scroll through his social media feed. After all, if what he’s seeing in his feed are ideal skills, bodies, and lifestyles, then how can he not compare—and despair?
Yet, despite social media’s shortcomings, Jamal is aware of how it can provide us with senses of safety, security, and belonging in times when we need it most. During moments when he felt overwhelmed by sadness, Jamal has received comfort and reassurance from those who have shared similar experiences with depression. In this respect, Jamal appreciates the empathy, validation, and human connection that can be found within his interactions on social media—a tool that, when applied in adaptive ways, can be used to promote help, hope, and healing.
The following resources support your work on this activity:
- Reading: Social Media and the Cost of Caring
- Module Two Milestone Template: You may use this template to complete the Module Two Milestone assignment.
- Psychology Research Guide: This resource was created to help you find psychology related content.
- Purdue OWL: This resource is provided to assist you with referencing resources according to APA standards.
To complete this milestone, review the Pew Research article “Social Media and the Cost of Caring,” linked above. As you weigh the costs and benefits of frequent exposure to social media, respond to each of the rubric criteria with a minimum of 3 to 5 sentences. Support your position with credible sources when appropriate:
- According to the findings of the Pew Research study, there are several potential costs and benefits that result from frequent exposure to social media.
- Describe one psychological benefit of frequent social media use.
- Describe one psychological cost of frequent social media use.
- At the end of the study overview on page 3, the researchers discuss the notion of stress being contagious.
- Describe what the research findings tell us about the link between our awareness of other people’s stressful life events on social media and increases in our own stress.
- We often refer to our involvement in social media groups as being a member of a community.
- Describe how social media can promote the levels of education and awareness that help to enhance well-being.
- Despite the positive intent of some social media influencers, their messages don’t always promote empathy, diversity, and inclusion.
- If you were a social media influencer, describe how you would use social media to enhance compassion and empathy for all people who struggle with psychological disorders.
Guidelines for Submission
Submit your completed Module Two Milestone Template. Sources should be cited according to APA style.
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