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Mental Health in the Social Media Era

Updated: Mar 28

Social media touches everyone, including Native Americans. While social media can help us stay connected to others, it can also lead to confusion. Social media can spread inaccurate information about mental health disorders like ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, and trauma. This issue is particularly important in Native American communities, where cultural factors and traditional beliefs about mental health play a crucial role.

The Correct Information Challenge:

On social media, a lot of content about mental health disorders like ADHD and autism is often inaccurate or overly simplified. Likewise, advice on helping with peoples’ depression and anxiety can be the opposite of what mental health professionals may suggest. The goal is to find information that is correct so that you can make the best decision for yourself.

Finding Good Information:

When trying to make the best healthcare decisions, it can be helpful to ask questions. When viewing healthcare information online, ask yourself, “Is this someone’s personal opinion or is this a traditional teaching or medical advice?” Studies show few people do their own research to track down where the information came from. Following mental health awareness campaign accounts on social media may be one way to get access to good information. Just watch out for whether the organization running the campaign is trustworthy or not. You can also look for accounts of mental health professionals with appropriate credentials, or ask for advice from wise people in your community.

Combating Misinformation:

  • Be Critical: Ask, “Is this a trustworthy source of information or do they just want my click?”. Remember, influencers and social media corporations make money the more you scroll.

  • Learn: Interact with content that will help you to learn more. The more accurate information you view on social media, the more your algorithm will include good information.

  • Report Misinformation: Reporting accounts that spread inaccurate information for clicks can be one way you can help yourself and your community find good information.

Sorting through mental health information on social media requires a commitment to asking questions, seeking out good information, and reporting bad information. Reaching out to mental health professionals is one of the best ways to get access to good information. Talking with a behavioral health provider about your mental health is a big step towards improving your well-being. Be sure to bring all your questions and concerns. Together we can make a plan for how to make you feel better in a way that is in line with your cultural beliefs and values.

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