I am usually sceptical about social media trends that include ‘copy and paste’ or ‘copy and paste and reply with ‘done’ when you have. I think I know who will’ at the end of the post. This is because historically, I have found that misinformation is often spread via these posts, and I often question the motives of the people that blindly jump on the bandwagon. I am especially sceptical of the latter message as it ostensibly guilt trips those who’ve read the post and don’t reciprocate the message. Implying that, by not spreading a seemingly positive message at the click of a button, this means you disagree with it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. These tactics are commonly used to get as many people to share the information as possible, in turn making them go viral. It is for all intents and purposes unethical and one of my pet peeves on social media.
I was recently nominated by my younger brother to make a post to Facebook about men’s mental health. Although unsure of the origins of this social media trend, I willingly accepted. My thoughts were that it could only be used as a force for good. The posts from this trend that I had read online contained no false information, nor did they contain messages that could be used to guilt trip one another. Rather, they contained factual information regarding suicide, and spread messages of positivity and support for one another. After some further digging, I learnt that a good number of contemporary social media trends are in fact pretty ethical. Most trends these days no longer contain messages that guilt trip you into sharing their post or copying and pasting their message. I therefore took the opportunity of being nominated to write something original, factual and gave a message of support and positivity.
Below is what I posted to Facebook. I have removed my brother’s name for privacy reasons:
“Thank you, [brother’s name] for the nomination to raise awareness for men’s mental health, and in particular male suicide.
This is a tough subject for me, so I won’t be copying and pasting the generic, yet important message I’ve seen being positively spread around social media.
Here’s my take. This comes with a trigger warning, as I do not wish to offend or upset anyone who may read this.
Everyone has a brain and a mind, and therefore by extension has some form of mental health. Mental health issues affect everyone in one way or another. That could be personally or directly.
Deciding to take one’s own life because of ill mental health is utterly tragic and heartbreaking. Suicide affects everyone, not just the sufferer. Yet no one should ever suffer alone.
It goes without saying that successful suicides are much more prevalent in males. However, mental health issues as a whole are more prevalent in females. There isn’t one single answer as to why we have this disparity.
One thing is for certain, and it is that men do not talk enough. We don’t express ourselves as much as we should do. We avoid, divert and are often too scared to broach the topic of mental health with others.
All of the incredible movements, charities and services championing for men’s mental health only mean so much if they actually reach those who are most vulnerable.
If your mate goes quiet for no reason – ask them if they’re okay. If you’re concerned – call them. If they call you out of the blue – pick up that phone. You could be that difference. If you are seriously concerned about their mental health – act. There are helplines that operate 24/7 to help.
Lastly, if you feel you might know someone who is struggling with their mental health and needs some simple advice – there is an abundance of self-help techniques online and on our phones.
Don’t be a bystander. Don’t belittle. Don’t tell someone to ‘man up’.
Do listen. Do talk. Do act.”