Enough with those misaligned pencils, though

Facebook algorithms generate targeted ads and suggested groups that can feel like a personal attack. One day after your wedding and Facebook is plastering Huggies Little Snugglers diaper ads across one third of your newsfeed. Or, maybe you’re newly single and suddenly Facebook thinks you might want to join the “Cooking for One” culinary group. Presumptuous. Invasive. Off-putting.

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An “OCD quiz” that recently graced my Facebook newsfeed with its presence.

I, however, am most peeved at the (seemingly targeted) quizzes that continually appear, beckoning me to check out how “OCD” I am. First of all, I already have the answer to that question, and, more importantly, no amount of disorganized pencils or irregularly patterned bathroom tiles will ever properly represent a mental illness diagnosis. While kitschy and perhaps a sufficient 5 minute paper-writing break, quizzes such as these are damaging to the mainstream understanding of mental illness. For instance, Facebook users who engage with this quiz, and also lack personal experience with mental illness, may believe that OCD is solely defined by frivolous, detail-oriented behaviors.

While social media can often serve as breeding ground for misinformation about various mental health issues, there are countless sources working tirelessly to educate and provide support. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mental health amongst 2018 media

pexels-photo-122383.jpegThe importance of thoughtful, informed discussion regarding mental health remains heightened as we enter into a new year. A recent article shares a promising take on communicating about and representing positive discussions of mental wellness:

A new series on BBC Future, #LikeMinded, aims to tackle a relevant debate regarding the impact of social media use on our mental health.

Facebook recently shared a blog post addressing this issue, suggesting that while social media isn’t inherently negative or damaging to our mental wellbeing, it certainly can be if used improperly.

The objective behind #LikeMinded is to offer a review of current research on the relationship between social media use and mental health. Some of the topics that are said to be addressed in this series are social media addiction, ties between social media use and self-esteem, and insight into mental health based on the content of social media posts.

Looking forward to following along with the #LikeMinded findings.

Read more about the new series from BBC Future here: #LikeMinded