I am sorry for the clickbait-y title, but hey! That is what we love seeing on Instagram, don’t we? 5 signs you have ADHD. 5 ways to know if you have anxiety. Are you depressed? Here are 3 symptoms of depression that you might be having. And this list goes on.
We as humans are very curious by nature, so titles like these, especially on Instagram reels or TikTok, where they are listing these shortcuts of knowing if we have a mental health condition, become so attractive to us that we end up watching numerous reels/ TikToks on this and then get stressed. Honestly, there is so much stress in our lives as it is, adding this on top is a surefire way of being miserable. Add on the fact that the person telling us all this has a huge follower list, and their credibility in our eyes instantly goes up, making it all the more difficult to separate facts from fiction.
There’s another trend going around with the hook line “psychology says…” followed by an absurd opinion. While these might be fun to watch, they become a problem if taken too seriously. At this point, even mental health professionals are frustrated with the amount of misinformation circulating on social media. And this is not only restricted to mental health; this goes on to physical health with all sorts of detox potions, shiny gadgets, and so on. This has resulted in people self-diagnosing and using these “health products” to cure themselves, which are completely useless. Further, they also might cause harm to one’s health and bank balance.
All this content on social media platforms has done is create a state of panic, even among healthy people. Being cautious is good, but believing everything you see on social media might be a bad idea. Often, it can result in people overlooking physiological issues because of this and assuming their condition to be a mental health issue just by looking at these videos and not consulting actual doctors who can better diagnose and guide them regarding the next steps.
The only scenario in which such type of content might be useful is if someone is struggling with a mental health condition but, they lack awareness about it and might need some form of validation regarding the things they have been feeling and experiencing, which might give them enough confidence to contact their health care provider and seek the required medical attention. However, this case is rare and probably the only good thing about this type of content.
So, the next time you come across a TikTok or Instagram reel or youtube short or whatever new short-form content platform gets launched in the next couple of months, just remember this article and know that actual doctors spent years of their lives and are under sizeable student loans to because they studied the human body and mind and are good at their jobs. Whereas, these 'health influencers' just picked up a phone and hit record. So, if you believe them and think that you might be experiencing a mental health issue before you spend your hard-earned money on their 'health products' or courses or even start panicking, take a moment and contact your healthcare provider to discuss this and decide the course of action that might be best for you.