Blogging has come a long way: from being an online craze to becoming a big industry; from being a merely online form of the traditional personal diary to becoming a repository of valuable information. They have become one of the most popular and widely used social platforms of the Millennial generation. They enable people around the world to share their stories, connect with each other and learn more about different topics and themselves. Not only have they given voice to people, but they also play an important role in raising awareness about mental health, helping the most anxious generation of Millennials.
Millennials and mental health
The Millennial generation is described using various terms. Some call them privileged and lazy. Others describe them as determined, self-sufficient and ambitious. Unfortunately, Millennials are also described as the most anxious generation in history, exhibiting symptoms of mental illnesses much earlier than their predecessors. They’ve been growing up in the world where media set the standards of the perfect body; where they have been told that they can be anything they want only for reality to prove them otherwise; where expectations are high and challenges are great. All of this has shaped a generation that knows all too well about eating disorders, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, low self-esteem, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental illnesses. On the other hand, Millennials aren’t afraid to speak up and seek help often from an online community of people going through the same experiences. Blogs have become an important part of the Millennial discourse about mental health.
Erasing the stigma
Mental illnesses were once considered a taboo and individuals struggling with mental disorders used to hide their problems out of fear that they would be rejected, mocked or even stigmatised. These individuals were often misunderstood and felt alone because they had no one to share their experiences with. They didn’t dare see a psychologist or psychiatrist because they would be described as “crazy”.
Millennials might be the most anxious generation, but they are also the generation who talks about mental illnesses and their experiences most openly and directly. Individuals who suffer from mental illnesses share their stories via blogs, offer advice and help to their readers and invite them to share their own experiences. Furthermore, blogs, and the stories they convey, can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. An excellent example of this is Psychreg Journal of Psychology which offers a platform for people with mental health issues to share their stories. This has greatly changed people’s attitudes towards this topic, encouraging them to help others, seek help for themselves and raise awareness about mental health.
Although the conversations about mental health may still cause discomfort in some individuals, more and more people are realising the importance of talking and understanding mental illnesses. Individuals who suffer from mental disorders are no longer met with “get over it”, “you’re thinking too much about it” and “it’s all in your head”. Owing to the opportunity to read and learn about mental health, people are more compassionate, caring and understanding towards individuals with mental illnesses. Through blogging, Millennials have brought one of the most important issues to light, completely changing the attitudes towards mental health and care.
The expanding awareness of mental health problems has brought numerous innovations when it comes to treatment of mental illnesses. Millennials have embraced a holistic view of health and well-being, focusing both on their physical and mental health. Not only do they try to eat healthier foods and exercise regularly, but they have also embraced meditation and mindfulness as a way to relieve stress and anxiety. Furthermore, they aren’t afraid to seek professional help from a therapist or talk openly with their friends and family. New therapeutic approaches have also emerged, including counselling through online therapy and sound therapy. Nowadays, Millennials have an opportunity to learn about different treatments from other people first-hand.
The psychology behind blogging
It might sound surprising to most people, but there is science behind blogging. An emerging subfield in psychology that focuses on the application of psychological principles and research in order to optimise the benefits that readers can derive from reading blogs is known as “blog psychology”. A recently published article of Dennis Relojo, blog psychologist and founder of Psycherg, explored the theoretical underpinnings of blog psychology, such as readers’ perception, cognition, and humanistic components in regards to their experience of reading blogs.
However, in spite of the popularity of blogs, its psychology is still about to emerge. Relojo sheds light on this: “There is definitely a huge potential to this emerging subfield towards contributing to the discipline of psychology. Indeed, with the continued popularity of blogs, it is crucial that a specialised discipline be developed to encompass all forms of internet-mediated communication, specifically in blogs, such as the use, design, and its impact on mental health and well-being of its readers”. He went on to add that the “blog psychologists may also draw upon developmental and narrative psychologies and emerging findings from cyberpsychology. The theories and research in psychology could be used as the backbone of blog psychology and guide the discipline itself.” Dennis Relojo, will talk more on the emerging field of blog psychology during the upcoming International Conference on Psychology, Counselling and Education (ICPCE 2018).
Conversations about mental health, psychology, and well-being play a crucial role in helping people feel better about themselves. Owing to Millennials, blogging gives people a chance to create these conversations. It allows people to feel more connected to the world outside their home through the Internet.