Has the real world developed a social media trending mindset? Comprising all talk and no action? Here’s what I have to say:
There’s no doubt that today, mental health gets a lot of airplay. All one needs to do is surf the news agencies and social media. From there it would take only a matter of seconds to find an article related to the mental-health crisis the world is currently plunged into.
However, as far as I’m concerned, the subject of mental health is nothing more than a huge trending buzzword. In other words, there’s a lot of talk and outward sympathy, but when one boils it all down, it’s not taken nearly as seriously as it should.
In my humble opinion, many of us have adopted a social media-trending mindset. What do I mean by this? Well, like incidents on social media, the most pressing issues are here today and gone tomorrow. What I find most disturbing about this behavior, is the almost patronizing one-liners that come with it.
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For example, when I toured around after my book, The Road To Mental Wellness was launched, I met a lot of people with sympathy and understanding. And while it was nice and comforting to have so much support thrown behind the subject of mental health, it was at the same time, disheartening. Perhaps more accurately, it became disheartening thereafter. By this I mean the lack of support that materialized as a result of their words.
While I don’t wish to cast a negative light on anyone, and I will forever be grateful for those who have bought my book, I remain saddened. What saddens me the most, you ask? Well, It’s the amount of very similar words that flow from the well-meaning people I encounter.
in my opinion, many of them are so similar, they remind me of a Internet hashtag. To be more accurate, what comes out of this social media-trending mindset is the quintessential one-liner. One that may be popular amongst people – in this case the #mental health. Moreover, people are happy to express how dire mental health is but the actions to fix said dire situation are lacking.
Here, let me provide you with an example.
Many people I’ve met say:
“I’m so happy to see that you’re brave enough to share your story. As you know, mental health is in a state of crisis. Your book will help so many people.”
So, before I go any further, I really must emphasize that this is not about the book sales. Rather, it is an observation I’ve made while in the middle of trying to sell it. In my view, this is a very important distinction.
Now, with that said, I would say that the vast majority of those who expressed their verbal support for mental health, did not purchase my book – a decision that is completely up to them. And as I said, this post is not about my book sales. Nevertheless, it highlights a very troubling trend. This trend, you ask? That of believing that your words are sufficient enough to feel like you supported a cause. In this example, mental health.
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In my view, it’s the real-world equivalent to placing a certain colour on your profile pic and thinking that you have done something wonderful to support what the colour represents. When in reality, all you’ve done is change your profile pic. I suspect this eases the mind of those who jump on the color-changing bandwagon. From where I stand, this is more of an individual move then a unifier. But I digress.
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What’s worse, is that the very media that talks about the impending doom as a result of the mental-health crisis, puts your interview on page 9 – and opting instead to place a more politically-correct issue on the front page. Now, I’m not saying said issues are not worthy; what I am saying is that things that are labeled crisis are more worthy of the front page. And as far as I’m concerned, this is yet another example of a social media-trending mindset. After all, it’s all about the ratings. Am I right?
And finally, there was an old saying in English: “talk is cheap.” A statement that I find especially true in today’s social media-trending environment. Essentially, what I’m asking here is for people to stand up and take action to help rid ourselves of the two-tiered mental health care system and demand funding for a robust, publicly-funded mental-health care system.
I will leave you with this: while I will continue to fight for those with mental-health conditions and the system they are forced to navigate through, I’m not overly optimistic. Why? Well, simply stated, people would rather march, scream, holler, and protest over matters of less significance. What’s more disturbing, is that they are willing to “fight” for what Impacts them on an individual level.
When in fact, what we should be fighting for are the very things that impact us as a nation – from coast to coast. And given that mental-health cases are on the rise at an alarming level, this would be a perfect subject matter to get mad over. And finally, I’ll leave you with these questions.
“What are the most pressing issues impacting society as a whole?” And what actions do we as a nation have to take in order to prevent further degradation to our social systems?”
If you answer starts out with me, I, or my, you may be concerned with your own needs and less worried about your family, your friends, and your nation. I am convinced that we need to unify as a nation to fix universal systems.