Mental Health Awareness in the Digital Age

Something I would like to emphasize is that social media can be used for good. Despite it being a vice for many to spread hate, propaganda and quite rightly utter bull, a plethora of goodness is also out there.

Matt Haig; successful author of books including Reasons to Stay Alive, How to Stop Time, and several children’s books is someone who openly discusses his experience with depression and the wider scope of mental health on social media.

Here are some recent examples of his tweets that I  would like to share;

On developing a stronger understanding: “Mental health is not a niche subject for a few depressed people. Mental health is everyone. Mental health is what we all have. It is our minds. And understanding what impacts our mental health would lead to happier lives and societies. There is nothing more important.”– 24/05/18

On taking care of your mental health in the digital age:

“Got called ‘fragile’ for deleting a tweet. Yeah, I am. Men can be. People can be. It’s okay to use social media the way you need to use it. Delete tweets, press mute, unfollow, edit, block, step away, leave, whatever you have to do for your mental health.” – 27/05/18

On the severity of stress:
“A third of people have felt suicidal in the last year due to stress. It’s time we took stress as seriously as diet and exercise.” -14/05/18

To read more on this go to https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/14/three-in-four-britons-felt-overwhelmed-by-stress-survey-reveals?CMP=share_btn_tw 

On mental health as a valid excuse: “The common idea people ‘use’ their mental health as an excuse for things is a bad one. There are far more times you see someone acting ‘normal’ and silently struggling to do so than you hear the inner context for a behaviour. Listen without prejudice, as George Michael said.” – 28/05/18

On it getting better: “Last time I was in the Balearics I nearly threw myself off a cliff. This time I go running along them. This time is better.”  – 28/05/18

On living with anxiety: “Anxiety isn’t weakness. Living with anxiety, turning up and doing stuff with anxiety, takes a strength most will never know. A trip to the supermarket can mean you defeat more monsters than in The Odyssey. It’s not WHAT you do. It’s what you OVERCOME to do it.” – 26/05/18

It is people like Matt Haig that I think we should be thankful for in what can at times feel like a neverending cacophony of pings, updates and notifications. It can be easy to lose focus and direction amongst the sheer amount of digital traffic. How do we ensure we only see content that we can identify with, seek enjoyment out of and find comfort in? And furthermore, content that can help contribute to a better-informed society about issues such as mental health? We need to be mindful of what we allow ourselves to see on social media. Which I digress, unwanted posts at times are often unavoidable, but when action can be taken to filter out toxicity and filter in positivity; action should be taken.

For more from Matt Haig, check out the following links;

‘ Happy’ – Fearne Cotton’s podcast episode featuring Matt Haig (available on Spotify)

Follow Matt Haig on Twitter

‘Books Save Lives with Matt Haig’ – Waterstones Article

‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ – Haig’s new book on mental health in the digital age (available for pre-order)

I also can’t recommend enough his books; Reasons to Stay Alive and How to Stop Time

Thank you for reading!

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