To Live or Die That is The Question
I am sure that many of you will have read the tragic story about the teenage girl from Malaysia who conducted an Instagram Poll to decide whether she should live or kill herself. Apparently 69% of those who voted, voted for her to die and she thusly killed herself. Now, aside from the ghastliness of the people who voted for her to die, there are significant questions that need to be addressed when it comes to mental health and social media.
Regular readers will know that I have written about the mental health issues which can be caused or made worse by social media. When in the positive, social media connects us with more people that many would meet in their day to day lives. However, these connections may not have your best intentions at heart. Additionally, for many people the need for external validation becomes so vital to their psychological well being, they will use social media to validate, or in this case invalidate them.
Social media for the Millennium generation is something that they have all been brought up with. For those of us who work in mental health, we need to be far better educated about the good and bad of social media and how to intervene in the most effective way. A way that does not unilaterally condemn social media, but rather to understand the dynamics and how these platforms can effect those using them. Suicide cannot be prevented when it is truly desired, but surely, we can do more to help our young from taking this drastic and permanent step.