A Little Click of Calm: How Psycho-educational Influencers are Making Social Media Healthier
As the world moves through increasingly testing and trying times and the confronting reality that human beings have created a world in which they are unable to cope with the pressures of (Wax,2012). One in four people deal with some form of mental illness, and many of them are Millennials (Wax, 2012).
Therapy is expensive, and a new league of Instagram influencers are helping people who cannot afford treatment to heal themselves (Matei, 2019). This new stream of influencers are turning, the traditional anxiety triggering app into a tactical sidekick for the modern world.
Accredited psychologists, counsellors, are social worker, are blocking out time to create Instagram content to help those battling mental health conditions (Matei, 2019). Therapists like Nicole LePera(who has 644,000 followers) and Nedra Tawwab(109,000 followers) are sharing psychological insights for those interested in improving their mental health (Matei, 2019).
Julia Gillard, former Australian prime minister and current board member of Beyond Blue, stated that the demand for mental health services has increased by thirty-five per cent since COVID-19 (The Project, 2020).
Psycho-education over social media does not replace therapy; however, It destigmatizes mental health. Most importantly, it comforts users by highlighting that they are not alone in their struggles and demystifies therapy (Matei, 2019).
While public attitudes towards mental health have changed drastically in the last ten years, many people dealing with mental health conditions often feel lonely and isolated.
Accounts like Tawaab and LePera, create an online community where users know they are not alone (Matei, 2019).
While social media is known to increase depression and anxiety, and have adverse effects on mental and physical wellbeing (Akhatar, Hoffewer 2019). Influencers like Tawaab and LePera are proving that Instagram’s use as a strategic communication tool has the potential to improve mental wellbeing.
Tawaab and LePera, post several times daily about a variety of topics, including anxiety management strategies, inner child wounds, and boundary setting (Matei, 2019).
Having this content on an accessible medium means that users have a digital tool kit at their fingertips that can help them in their personal and professional lives. Moreover, it encourages users to look inside and develop greater self-awareness, juxtaposing social media influencer norms.
Traditional influencer social media behaviour encourages followers to engage with influencer profiles and demands connection and engagement. Influencers like Tawaab and Lapera’s content aims at targeting people to put down their phones and step away.
The increasing popularity of these influencers on social media shows the increased self-awareness of social media users. Additionally, this new league are influencers are challenging the stereotypes of influencer culture. They are not interested, making a passive income through Instagram, or promoting the highlight real culture social media normalizes.
They seek to help people find inner peace and develop healthy relationships with themselves and with technology which is critical in the digital age.
Akhtar, Hillary Hoffower, Allana. “Lonely, Burned out, and Depressed: The State of Millennials’ Mental Health Entering the 2020s.” Business Insider, 19 Dec. 2019, www.businessinsider.com/millennials-mental-health-burnout-lonely-depressed-money-stress?r=AU&IR=T. Accessed 10 May 2020.
Kalligas, Kouris. “Social Media’s Dark Side: Learning to Set Boundaries.” Entrepreneur, 24 July 2017, www.entrepreneur.com/article/297029. Accessed 10 May 2020.
Matei, A. (2019). If you don’t have a therapist, can Instagram help? The Guardian. [online] 1 Aug. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/01/social-media-therapists-instagram-therapy [Accessed 10 May 2020].
Wax, Ruby. “What’s so Funny about Mental Illness?” Ted.Com, TED Talks, 2012, www.ted.com/talks/ruby_wax_what_s_so_funny_about_mental_illness?language=en. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.
“The Project — 16 Apr 2020.” 10 Play, 17 Apr. 2020, 10play.com.au/theproject/episodes/2019/the-project-16-apr-2020/tpv200416okucq. Accessed 10 May 2020.