This is a blog, not just about mental health, but about how our interaction with it plays out in a world of social media and self-publicising.
As someone who has set up a social enterprise and truly believes in what we do, I find myself more public than I would like, because to some extent, the end justifies the means. Social media allows this and has been my friend.
Social media and our Instagram obsession however has made us not just more comfortable talking about our emotions, but what we look like too. Is it just me or do people feel more able to make comments about appearance? Having had a gap in this from about the age of 20 I assumed it would simply wain with age.
However scarcely a week goes by without someone making a comment about the way I look and most sadly of all, if it’s a woman, they are usually making self-deprecating comparisons. As an adult I cope with most comments and increasingly make a conscious decision to ‘big up’ the other woman whilst making no reference to appearance. With my nieces playing out their lives (and holiday bikinis) on social media, how equipped are they to protect themselves and support their peers?
In an age of memes, leadership speak, authenticity and workplace cultures I understand why CEOs, footballers and other would talk openly about their mental health.
As someone building a values-lead organisation I desperately want staff to feel they can be appropriately open about it. We have an additional role in modelling these behaviours for the people we support too.
It’s undoubtedly becoming normal on LinkedIn for people to talk about their mental health and be a bit personal. As the pendulum on mental health swings I feel this can only be a good thing that is the silver lining to much of the status envy, downward comparing and trolling that occurs when people lay themselves bare (sometimes literally!) online.
Everything has a flip side however and it’s important to see it and prepare people for it. But this isn’t about the importance of digital resilience, it’s about my right to a private life. As a deeply private and introverted person, this remains my right.
We’ve all got s*** we could share and some of us do. Not always relevantly or appropriately in my view. But because I don’t talk about it publicly doesn’t mean I don’t commend the pendulum swing and more open conversations about our mental health.