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View: Is Facebook Currently Fuelling Melancholic Depression Fad?

IN A current psychology lecture I had been giving regarding the stigma surrounding mental illness a pupil was found by me together with brow furrowing and her mouth pursing. I pointed to the stigma surrounding mental and said “you appear to differ – have you got an alternate perspective?”

The stigma surrounding mental clarified that she was a high school teacher and that she’d seen instead the reverse going on on the list of cohort that was adolescent.

“Look I am aware this is not PC but melancholy among the high school children … good, it is kind of like the new ‘in thing’, everyone has it, and when they do not, they feign they do to fit in,” she said.

I have to confess, I had been somewhat taken aback. As a mom of four teens, I have not been unaware of a few of my children’ friends discussing their dancing with melancholy on Facebook, a behavior within my youth that will have meant specific social death. By comparison, this now appears to bring lots of “enjoys”, large-hearted remarks and outpourings of support.

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Therefore i asked the lecture group rather than the cries of indignation there were some anecdotal stories to support the perspective of the teacher along with instead lots of nods, murmurs, and what they believed.

In the school-outreach teaching I set this thought to several Year 12s. They went one step farther: “Like, everyone (add teen eye-roll) on Tumblr has melancholy, it is absurd,” one girl said.

Another girl found one step bit disconcerting. “It is extremely hard, there is at least ten of your friends who say they’ve melancholy anytime, and one girl begin to … you know, not take it seriously.”

I wonder if teens, within their despair to fit in, are participating in a fresh fad driven by the secondary increase of encouragement on social networking?

The trouble with this is teenagers seem especially vulnerable to “peer contagion” in the creation of a variety of psychological/mental health issues including depression, aggression and eating disorders.

Additionally, there is a fine line between talking about an unhealthy house on negative issues, which later raises depressive symptoms and one’s issues.

We must also be cautious in “celeberatising” specific illnesses, making the especially attractive to teenagers.

I’ve been disappointed during mental health week that appeared to paint a picture as a totally ordinary (one in two), temporary, curable minor blip in the radar of successful people in the well intentioned but lopsided reporting. There is apparently a censorship in the media last week of those with blacker narratives that chronicle a lifelong, debilitating struggle with mental illness that doesn’t react well (if at all) and causes untold collateral damage to family and friends.

In the noble quest to destigmatise and supply support for those who have mental illness, we truly need to not be unmindful our attempts may unintentionally ease and even reinforce behaviors that are mentally ill in exposed groups of men and women. Minimising the severity, and maximising the “normality” of serious mental illness might also prove counterproductive in the future.

The problem is based on finding the harmony that is proper.

Rachael Sharman PhD, is psychology class coordinator in the School of Social Sciences