Trigger Warning: Suicide
There is so much that is helpful and beneficial on the internet, and there is so much that is harmful and negative. Three of the things I love most about the internet is the ability to network with writers, and mental health advocates/agencies/nonprofits, the access to many university-level classes in writing, and the access to information to satisfy my curiosity or for research.
But like I mentioned before, the internet is not all healthy, rewarding, educational. Two of the things that I find harmful on the internet is the comment section under articles I write (I have written about suicide and had people comment that I should kill myself), and the support groups that are unmoderated on social media like Facebook.
There are several groups for people with schizophrenia, and so frequently I see young women posting pictures of themselves in the groups, and it appears they are simply looking for attention. I don’t see how that is at all relevant to schizophrenia or helping or supporting others. There are also posts that frequently say that the person is thinking of harming their self. I think it is awful to post those kinds of alarming situations anonymously in a group of people who are already dealing with mental health issues. Of course, those posts get hundreds of responses asking how to contact the person, how to report the post to Facebook, asking the person to call a crisis line, etc.
I realize that some people are all alone and have nowhere else to post their pain and their struggles, but it isn’t safe to do that sort of thing on social media or anywhere else on the internet. If you are in crisis, there are people just waiting to tell you to go ahead and harm yourself. There are also trolls that use those rooms/groups to play jokes on people (of course I don’t think it is funny, but they do).
I love the internet, and I am addicted to social media but other than using it to network with people (helping me stay less isolated), I don’t use it to better my mental health. I know that resources are few and money is tight for so many people, but if you are using the internet to get support, or get advice, make sure that you are dealing with a group or people who are safe and legitimate.
Please don’t post about a crisis and expect professional help. If you are having a crisis, please go to the nearest hospital or call your local crisis line. The internet is great and provides so many benefits to our lives but it can also be dark and dangerous, and I don’t want anyone to get hurt. Stay safe friends.