Peer to peer supportive communities trending in social media are important to those with mental illness. Furthermore, efforts to reduce stigma, shame, as well as ending the silence in homes, schools and workplaces are well underway across the globe. My advocacy, initiated September of 2018 ignited by my passion to eradicate stigma on a global scale and has provided insight for me into this topic. It’s my mission to advocate until we no longer have shame and stigma for those living with any type of mental illness.
Today I came across a peer-reviewed publication called, “The future of mental health care; peer-to-peer support and social media,” that stated exposure to misinformation and hostile derogatory remarks could far outweigh the benefits of these peer to peer support communities.
These risks endure because of the stigma, fear, and shame that exist in our world and until we can educate our world, provide education, awareness, they will persist.
Retaliating against people seeking support while living through a depressive episode, or are feeling highly anxious or having a reaction to a medication is despicable. People with mental illnesses need support, a sympathetic ear, and to know they aren’t alone. Many people cannot afford therapeutic services or the medication needed, at times. Additionally, services are few and far between in some communities. Although improving, access to mental health service takes months at times, peer to peer support communities provide a place where people can talk about it, get a supportive ear in the meantime. These communities are all some people have and until we educate others on mental illness until we gain acceptance and understanding through education, you' are still going to have naysayers and hostile people. I’ve found that in these supportive communities, banding together to avoid potential attacks is something they are aware of and strong in educating members of the community about.
Reacting to this publication, I don’t believe the risks outweigh the good and I’m a strong proponent of peer to peer groups, communities, videos, speaking platforms and everything else people advocate for, as well as the stories my guests share on my podcast.
My advocacy and other efforts around the globe are what we need more of, to stomp out the stigma worldwide.
Publication: Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2016 Apr; 25(2): 113–122.
Published online 2016 Jan 8. doi: 10.1017/S2045796015001067