So I asked the members of my eating disorders recovery group (which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/edrecoverymentalhealthsupport/ ) for questions about mental health issues. I took my favourite three to answer.
Lize asks: How do you feel about potentially triggering images and content on websites such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, specifically ones that people claim are health related but are clearly posted by people who are unwell?
In theory everything is triggering, obviously every person has different triggers so what might not be triggering for the content creator could potentially be triggering for a member of the audience who are reading or watching the content. So generally speaking I don’t think you can really say anything against the content creator as the images or articles are theirs and the audience chooses to view it.
In terms of eating disorders I think general health articles are probably best avoided all together if one is easily triggered. Most really health oriented people calorie count, workout a lot and only eat very specific foods which is fine for them if that’s what they are interested but reading articles about that kind of thing is going to be a possible trigger of behaviours for someone with an eating disorder.
I certainly don’t think that health articles should be censored in anyway as that’s contradictory to free speech and the freedom of being able to post something on the internet. I’m sure the authors of such health articles do not intend to influence someone into a damaging behaviour.
Trevor asks: What’s your opinion on psychotherapy or rather Sigmund Freud?
Psychotherapy and modern talking therapies are in my opinion the best way of dealing with a mental health issue brought on by circumstance such as generalised anxiety or depression. Combined with the mindfulness learnt in CBT and the use of medication, be that long term or short term, the majority of mental health issues can be worked out.
Free association, one of Freud’s ideas certainly revolutionised talking therapy. Free association allows the patient to talk about their problem whilst the doctor tries to steer the conversation by asking questions about what s/he believes to be important in finding the root of the problem. In theory this means that the patient finds the root of their own problem and works out how to solve it by themselves with a little guidance from the doctor. The doctor is not simply telling the patient how to get through the issue.
I think Freud was an incredibly clever man at the time but some of his theories such as psychosexual development and the id, ego and super ego are now a little dated. Although they are a somewhat logical explanation of psychological phenomenon.
Emma asks: How can we educate those we around us about Mental Health?
This is dependant on what you mean by ‘those around us’. I think we are doing a good job of educating the general public in terms of symptoms or different things to look out for yourself and other people so you/they can get help before anything bad happens.
I think if we push education of mental health issues onto the general public then it can be taken out of context. If you look at the word ‘triggered’, people on Tumblr pushed for trigger warnings to be put onto general media which caused everyone to take the piddle out of the concept. I think it does more harm than good if that happens as it reinforces incorrect stereotypes of mentally ill people.
I guess in terms of ‘those around us’ as friends and family the best thing we can do is be honest. They are going to ask questions because they might not have encountered anything like that before or want to help out. Helping them to help would be to lower your defences and trying to answer their questions. You could show them articles or videos that maybe explain what you are going through a little better than you can.
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