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Its all in your head

Its all in your head. Calling any physical illness like cancer or influenza fictitious would

be considered absurd in modern times. There is care provided the instance any of these diseases

are diagnosed in a patient. However, the same ideals do not hold true for those of mental health,

despite that any of these diseases can be as destructive or fatal as physical conditions. This is

often due to lack of visible symptoms, if it is not seen, it can be difficult to convince others of its

prevalence. Despite the devastating effects that these have on 42.5 million Americans, mental

health disorders harmfulness is not recognized on the same scale that other diseases are

(Bekiempis). In the past, mental illnesses were seen as nonthreatening. Thus, they did not

warrant concern from those who were not directly affected. Those who had mental health

disorders were hidden from society and were demeaned throughout their lives. Although the

mental health movement began in 1909 by Mental Health America, it would be a hundred years

until mental health was accepted on the scale that it is today (Our). This movement is the

combatant of both mental health diseases and the negative stigma that encompasses them. The

view of mental health has shifted from an ignorant world to one that is more understanding;

however, there is still plenty of change that is yet to occur on this topic. This shift was facilitated

through the creation of technology, which allowed this movement to spread on a greater scale

than was possible even twenty years ago.

One of the earlier uses of the internet was for blogging. The creation of blogs allowed for

amateur writers to have a direct connection to the anyone without needing to publish a novel.

Blogs uses expand any genre, from storytelling to descriptions of hobbies. These purposes may

appear as pointless, mindless ways for people to have fun, but to the mental health movement,

however, it was a powerful tool for rhetoric. People began using their blogs to tell specific stories
about their life. Those with mental health issues began to share their experiences and provide

insight to how it truly felt to be inflicted, and how they were often treated by society. Seeing their

stories in this light allowed for people without mental health issues to empathize with their

conditions, and become aware of their effects. Those sharing their stories were provided with an

outlet for their emotions, which can be beneficial in itself, even if no one would see all of the

stories shared. Lastly, it helped those also inflicted with mental health disorders. Seeing others

bravery and pain creates a connection. This connection provides emotional support, and the

viewer can even contact the writer to communicate and enhance this support. Those who do not

yet realize that their symptoms correlate to mental health issues can recognize their diagnosis,

and thus begin to receive help with their problems. Blogs typically began as means of

communication for young teenagers or children. Later, blogging was used by people with more

rhetorical power. Seasoned writers began utilizing blogging, evolving it from a status update to

educated discussion. An example of such a blog can be found on Bipolar Burble Blog, which

provides useful text for both those with mental health disorders and those without in a

sophisticated manner (Tracy). Overall, blogging became an unexpected tool for communication.

What began as a small fad ended with the power to save lives and aid millions of people.

The mental health movement was also aided through the advocation of popular

celebrities. In todays society, celebrities are looked up to, and often serve as role models for the

population. These stars are not just supporting this movement, but by publicizing their issues,

they have demonstrated that mental health issues can affect them as well. An example of this can

be seen through Jared Padalecki, one of the stars of the show Supernatural. This actor uses his

cultural power to raise both awareness and money with his Always Keep Fighting campaign

(Prudom). He has also shared that he has depression as well, showing that anyone can be subject
to these issues, despite how happy or successful one appears to be on the outside. Using

technology as his tool, Padalecki utilizes social networking websites such as Twitter and

Facebook to aid in his awareness program. On Twitter, he gives quick words of encouragement

and gives updates on his campaigns. On Facebook, he writes long descriptions of his stories and

uses their live video feature to have a true connection with the fans by speaking directly to them.

This helps those with depression by giving them a relatable and positive role model who does not

have to imagine what they are going through. Also, he uses himself as means to share with others

what depression is like, and how depression can affect any person, even celebrities. Seeing the

condition in this light provides insight and improves how those with depression are treated by

others. Although currently few celebrities have mentioned being inflicted by other mental health

issues, depression serves as the stepping stone for these other advances to occur. Today,

depression is most commonly heard, but in the future all inflictions will have equal

representation in the media.

With the invention of smartphones came many eases in daily life. Applications are the

embodiment of smartphone technology. With these, any programmer has the means to create a

custom program. The possibilities for apps are endless, consisting of games, finance

management, and social media. Apps have the power to aid in the mental health movement as

well. The app Pacifica aids to help those with the most common mental health disorder, anxiety

(Utley). By providing the user with tips to reduce anxiety, Pacifica is a practical application that

can be used anywhere and by anyone with a smartphone. Because of its accessibility, this app

allows all users to discreetly decrease their anxiety in everyday situations. Apps like this that

readily provides aid are not uncommon, spanning the apple store through apps such as Code

Blue, Breathe2Relax, Lantern, and many more (Top). Other apps provide aid with stress,
depression, and substance abuse. Providing care such as this allows for treatment of those who

otherwise would not go to a doctor due to financial or other issues. Their accessibility also

promotes their usefulness in ways that is much more difficult for doctors, as phones rarely leave

peoples sides.

New technologies are being created every day to aid those with mental health problems.

As these diseases are not as easily treated as others, technology provides solutions that were not

available in the past. Spire is the embodiment of the future of these technologies. While wearing

this device, users emotions are detected, and they are instantaneously provided with ways to

relieve stress, anxiety, or even sadness (Utley). Doing so can reduce the number of those who go

untreated. This simple outlet for these symptoms can have great repercussions. Currently, suicide

is the third leading cause of death in the United States of young adults. A majority of these occur

due to mental health (University). With a way to reduce the negative effects of mental health

issues such as this, suicide rates have the potential to decline. Technologies like this may appear

simple, but their results are extremely beneficial to todays society in numerous ways. Spire is

not the only game-changing technology that exists for the mental health community. The Fisher

Wallace Stimulator is placed around the forehead and causes the release of hormones that can

induce happiness or reduce painful emotions (Utley). This therapy can be done at home, or

anywhere else, and thus its convenience is revolutionary to the mental health movement. As

prevalent as mental health issues are in todays society, a treatment as simple as this can greatly

improve the lives of some inflicted by mental health issues. Although these technologies pose no

solution for schizophrenia or other conditions, they are merely stepping stones to future medical

advances.
Although the use of social media is often seen as a negative side effect to millennial's

narcissistic behavior, it is actually a platform for self confidence. Yes, there is cyberbullying and

other non beneficial outcomes of social media, but the positive cannot be overlooked. Teenagers

and young adults are constantly posting images of themselves, and hopefully, receiving uplifting

comments on them. Small positive comments such as these can greatly alter the mood of the

person receiving them. These seemingly insignificant acts of kindness have incredible impacts on

those with mental health, and boosting positivity through these means can help those with

anxiety or depression. Contrary to the positive self images seen on social media, one person

found a way to post the negatives in their life instead. Jamie Lauren Keiles documented her

depression through images on Instagram (Keiles). These provided direct insight into the

symptoms of depression that were accessible to all. However, as great as the effects can be

constructively, they can also be harmful. With the large amount of pictures posted online, many

young people find themselves comparing themselves to others, which can be detrimental to

mental health. Ignoring the comments, posting the pictures themselves is a great step forward for

young adults. Doing these shows that people are happy with how they look, as appearances are

often a great cause for unhappiness in these age groups. This is one focus where the mental

health movement faces great challenges, finding a way to restore the benefits of social media

while destroying the negative effects that it can have on people.

The creation of video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime

sparked the worlds love for television to heighten. With relatable characters and plots, people

tend to compare themselves to the fictional characters portrayed on their screen. Thus, it is only

logical that people learn as well from television shows, learning life lessons and other teachings

without actually going through the experience firsthand. Because of this, it is incredibly
important that television shows accurately portray mental health issues. Representation in the

media would decrease the negative stigma of mental health while promoting the importance of

the movement. Although there is not equal representation of all mental health diseases in the

media, there are shows that encompass what it is is like to face these disorders. Unfortunately,

OCD, depression, anxiety often represent a majority of the illnesses on television, while others

go unnoticed. As imperfect as this is, media is still moving in the correct direction to promote

awareness. Popular shows such as Scrubs and the Big Bang Theory show OCD in a non negative

manner, while demonstrating the negative effects that it can have (Bowsher). This type of

portrayal was not possible in earlier years. Thus this shift in media representation allows for

great advances in the mental health movement. Shows such as these demonstrate these illnesses,

and hopefully with time more shows will follow their lead.

The increase in technologys use can allow for incredible advances for medical treatment

and for destruction of the stigma for mental health. The views on mental health have

dramatically changed over the years. The world in the past had a negative stigma on these issues.

Although people today are much more open and compassionate about these problems, the mental

health movement is not yet complete. Many have rigid ideas of what mental illnesses are. It is

difficult to change every person in the worlds perception on an issue, but this idealistic goal is

one that all must attempt to reach. Luckily, there is little resistance in the way of the mental

health movement, but that does not mean such resistance is nonexistent. Many go by the old

ideologies, that mental problems are imaginary, and these people discourage those who are

already in pain. A world free of the negative connotation of mental health would prevent

suicides, increase happiness, and result in a better place to live. Mental healths importance spans

the globe, affecting every single individual on the planet in some form. This is incredibly
significant on society today, as understanding mental health has the potential to save billions of

lives. Mental health disorders will not be eradicated from society, but technology does have the

power to lessen their severity.

Works Cited

Bekiempis, Victoria. "Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Suffers From Mental Illness Each Year."

Newsweek. 04 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2016.

Bowsher, Allison. "5 TV Shows That Got Mental Health Right." Much.com. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.

Keiles, Jamie Lauren. "Depressiongrams." Medium. 23 Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.

"Our History." Mental Health America. Web. 22 Oct. 2016.

Prudom, Laura. "Supernatural Star Jared Padalecki Talks Depression and Why You Should

Always Keep Fighting." Variety. 12 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Oct. 2016

"Top 10 Mental Health Apps." Top 10 Mental Health Apps. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.

Tracy, Natasha. "Bipolar Burble Blog | Natasha Tracy." Bipolar Burble Blog | Natasha Tracy.

Web. 19 Nov. 2016.


University of Washington School of Social Work. "Fact Sheets." Facts About Mental Illness and

Suicide. Web. 22 Oct. 2016.

Utley, Tori. "4 Technologies Innovating Mental Health in 2016." Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web.

12 Nov. 2016.