Is Social Media Glorifying Mental Health Disorders?

I would like to preface this article by clarifying that I am not attempting to bash individuals who utilize humor as a coping mechanism for their mental health problems. Any coping mechanism a person chooses, whether humorous or not, is valid. I would be lying if I said I haven’t resorted to using humor as a way to cope time and time again.


That being said, let’s begin.


Social media is not inherently bad; in fact, I’d argue it’s quite the opposite. It has the very positive ability to allow people to communicate with anyone anywhere, although I believe the idea is better than the execution. 


In order to save you from the pain of reading through a paragraph long Merriam-Webster definition I’ll sum up what Mental Health Disorders(MHD) are. It’s really just any type of condition that impacts psychological or neurological functions relating to behavior, daily functioning, mood, etc. 


Now that you know the what of MHD, I’ll introduce you to the who(hint: it’s a lot of the population.)


Currently one in three 18- to 24-year-olds suffer from MHD’s whether they have depression anxiety, or one of the more than 200 classified forms of mental illnesses, compared with one in four in 2000. While this statistic doesn’t include teenagers, what the statistic does make clear is that mental health disorders are more widespread than ever before. Because of its prevalence amongst younger generations, it has become normalized for those to discuss their struggles with mental health on social media platforms freely.


These strides initially led to social media becoming a safe space for those struggling with a MHD. Yet, over time this normalization has turned into glorification. How so? Many within this group openly discuss and draw attention to their status as part of this minority in a manner that, while likely unintentional, ends up romanticizing and glamorizing the experience of having a mental health condition.


While this community that social media fosters is not inherently negative— as it can provide a way for individuals to connect with others experiencing similar issues—a troubling phenomenon has emerged. This glamorized portrayal can pressure those without diagnosable disorders to falsely convince themselves and others that they too suffer from mental health issues, solely out of a misguided desire to feel a part of something.


While the constant societal pressure to conform is understandable, it is unacceptable to fake mental health issues. However, glorifying these conditions is equally unacceptable. It is crucial to distinguish between glorification and genuine efforts to destigmatize mental health disorders. The line separating these two is not ambiguous – it is bold, bright, and blatant. We must be vigilant about not crossing that line into the harmful territory of glorification.

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