Apps / Mental Health / Social Media / Tools

Can social media improve mental health issues?

I previously posted about developing an app campaign, which I eventually managed to do for the previous week’s presentation in our social media class. For the assignment we were able to select a client by our own choice, whereas I decided to create a social media campaign for the Mental Health Foundation to improve mental health issues (alongside half of the people in our class, as mental health was a very popular choice this year apparently!)

Skjermbilde 2013-04-04 kl. 22.59.49

Source: Edelman Health Barometer 2011

Nevertheless, while researching for my assignment, it became clear that social media has had a very essential role when it comes to improving mental health. For instance, the Edelman Health Barometer from 2011 explained that social influence is among the top motivators of health behaviour change. In addition, 74% of the respondents between 18-30 years old said that using online and/or mobile technologies has helped them improve their health.

However, the study has also shown that only 20% of the respondents regularly use tools, devices, and apps to manage or track their health. If you are a PR professional, especially within the not-for-profit sector, this is a very important observation that must be considered in prospective social media strategies for mental health services. Although the Edelman Health Barometer is mainly focused on physical wellbeing, I have gotten to know that mental health and physical health are highly dependable to each other (as this is one of the messages the Mental Health Foundation – my client – is trying to get across).

Source: Edelman Health Barometer 2011

Source: Edelman Health Barometer 2011

Furthermore, an article from the Independent UK explained that early intervention and resilience building are vital to help young people grow up into healthy adults. I do agree with the author that social media can provide endless opportunities and possibly save lives, as it is able to reach people who are struggle and want help, but who doesn’t want to leave their secure environment.

The question is, why do so few people actually use digital tools and apps to take care of their mental wellbeing? After looking through a variety of different apps concerning mental health during my assignment, I detected a certain gap in the current assortment. Very few of the apps came across as positive and cheerful, whereas they mostly contained heavy reading and contact information. Hopefully, my app will bring a brighter light to the mental health app selection, and possibly change some people’s life? (Here’s hoping)

– Maria

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