Home Politics and Debate
Read the community guidelines before posting ✨

Competition in the Mental Health Community

independent_independent_ Resident Coffee AddictScotlandPosts: 6,241 Master Poster
As part of World Mental Health day tomorrow (10th October 2020) the mix are having a social media takeover which will discuss competition within the mental health community. I’m delighted to have been asked to be a part of this by starting a discussion around it right here on the boards. 

There are mental health communities on many platforms (most social media sites have some form of mental health groups within them). With lots of people from all walks of life and with different experiences of mental health difficulties, people may feel there is a level of competition in these spaces. 

Do you think there is competition within mental health communities? 

If so, do you think it’s a good or a bad thing? Does it help and encourage people, or make them start comparing with others in unhealthy ways?
“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”

Comments

  • StarlightStarlight 💃danceaholic🩰 Posts: 1,428 Wise Owl
    Personally, for the most part, especially on social media I find there to be quite a fair bit of competition, which I hate as I feel like everyone is on their own journey and nobody is the same, everyone's struggles are different and everyone reacts differently to events going on and for a while, I was stuck in an unhealthy cycle of pushing off how I was feeling as others "had it worse" than me so I didn't matter and didn't deserve help, they did. Even though I think the competition created is toxic I have found these groups to also be beneficial as I've been able to see I'm not alone and other people are going through the same things as me and if they can get through it I can. And now I'm able to look past the competition as I've learned to realise how different everyone and everyone's struggles are and I now know everyone deserves help and support no matter what and everyone should be valued the same. 
    “I got you, moonlight, you're my starlight
    I need you all night, come on, dance with me”

    * Shine like the star you are! *
    independent_lovemimoon
  • independent_independent_ Resident Coffee Addict ScotlandPosts: 6,241 Master Poster
    edited October 2020
    Starlight said:
    Personally, for the most part, especially on social media I find there to be quite a fair bit of competition, which I hate as I feel like everyone is on their own journey and nobody is the same, everyone's struggles are different and everyone reacts differently to events going on and for a while, I was stuck in an unhealthy cycle of pushing off how I was feeling as others "had it worse" than me so I didn't matter and didn't deserve help, they did. Even though I think the competition created is toxic I have found these groups to also be beneficial as I've been able to see I'm not alone and other people are going through the same things as me and if they can get through it I can. And now I'm able to look past the competition as I've learned to realise how different everyone and everyone's struggles are and I now know everyone deserves help and support no matter what and everyone should be valued the same.
    That's so true @Starlight everyone is so different aren't they and that's why comparison and competition when it comes to something as personal as mental health is not a good thing. 

    It's really great that you're able to look past it and find support within these groups. 

    Do you think some social media sites are more prone to competition than others?
    “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
  • StarlightStarlight 💃danceaholic🩰 Posts: 1,428 Wise Owl
    Starlight said:
    Personally, for the most part, especially on social media I find there to be quite a fair bit of competition, which I hate as I feel like everyone is on their own journey and nobody is the same, everyone's struggles are different and everyone reacts differently to events going on and for a while, I was stuck in an unhealthy cycle of pushing off how I was feeling as others "had it worse" than me so I didn't matter and didn't deserve help, they did. Even though I think the competition created is toxic I have found these groups to also be beneficial as I've been able to see I'm not alone and other people are going through the same things as me and if they can get through it I can. And now I'm able to look past the competition as I've learned to realise how different everyone and everyone's struggles are and I now know everyone deserves help and support no matter what and everyone should be valued the same.
    That's so true @Starlight everyone is so different aren't they and that's why comparison and competition when it comes to something as personal as mental health is not a good thing. 

    It's really great that you're able to look past it and find support within these groups. 

    Do you think some social media sites are more prone to competition than others?
    personally, the main socials I use are Instagram and Twitter and id say they are pretty equal it terms of competition although I find its easier to not get involved with the competition on Twitter but then I prefer communities on Instagram as I feel like they are more established and supportive from whats I've experienced. From what I've experienced on Facebook and TikTok Ive really disliked the competition I've felt on these platforms, TikTok being the worst for sure, Im not sure why but there is often a lot of judging and hate which surely doesn't help.
    “I got you, moonlight, you're my starlight
    I need you all night, come on, dance with me”

    * Shine like the star you are! *
  • independent_independent_ Resident Coffee Addict ScotlandPosts: 6,241 Master Poster
    Starlight said:
    Starlight said:
    Personally, for the most part, especially on social media I find there to be quite a fair bit of competition, which I hate as I feel like everyone is on their own journey and nobody is the same, everyone's struggles are different and everyone reacts differently to events going on and for a while, I was stuck in an unhealthy cycle of pushing off how I was feeling as others "had it worse" than me so I didn't matter and didn't deserve help, they did. Even though I think the competition created is toxic I have found these groups to also be beneficial as I've been able to see I'm not alone and other people are going through the same things as me and if they can get through it I can. And now I'm able to look past the competition as I've learned to realise how different everyone and everyone's struggles are and I now know everyone deserves help and support no matter what and everyone should be valued the same.
    That's so true @Starlight everyone is so different aren't they and that's why comparison and competition when it comes to something as personal as mental health is not a good thing. 

    It's really great that you're able to look past it and find support within these groups. 

    Do you think some social media sites are more prone to competition than others?
    personally, the main socials I use are Instagram and Twitter and id say they are pretty equal it terms of competition although I find its easier to not get involved with the competition on Twitter but then I prefer communities on Instagram as I feel like they are more established and supportive from whats I've experienced. From what I've experienced on Facebook and TikTok Ive really disliked the competition I've felt on these platforms, TikTok being the worst for sure, Im not sure why but there is often a lot of judging and hate which surely doesn't help.
    I completely agree that judgement and hate are really unhelpful @Starlight I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the mental health side of TikTok as well. I can’t speak for instagram as I don’t use it but I’m glad you’ve been able to find support there :) 
    “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
    Starlight
  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 2,982 Boards Guru
    edited October 2020
    I don't do social media anymore, but from what I've seen the mental health content on social media can be a race to the bottom. It's great that some of the content can be inspiring and enouraging though, but some of it can be so competitive and I don't know why it has to be this way.

    I suppose if you're in a bad place mentally, if you see someone who seems to be doing 'worse' than you it might make your comparitively 'small' struggles look invalid. At the same time if someone is doing 'better' than you, you might feel weak that you just can't be like them and get 'better'.

    There's no way to verify honesty on the internet. There can be a paranoia that someone is faking or exaggerating mental health struggles for attention or validation or some other reason- which might absolutely enfuriate a group of people who actually go through those struggles who feel insulted and personally attacked.
    And while this does happen a little, a lot of the people who are being called out for being 'fake' will be going through genuine struggles, and they're just being persecuted by an angry mob. A group of people can be more harsh than any of the individuals in that group are capable of by themselves. 

    Groupthink-10 individuals on social media can be nice and thoughtful, but a group of 10 people can be competitive and horrible and come to bad conclusions the individuals couldn't have.

    Groupthink
    Noun
    The practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making.
    but idk tho
    independent_lovemimoon
  • ShaunieShaunie 🌸 Posts: 12,486 Born on Earth, Raised by The Mix
    Yeah lot of competition on tiktok to have the worst mental health from what I see. I guess cause feel their struggles are less valid otherwise but it’s unhealthy and I think they feel they will get more views if they have “bad” mental health. 
    .
  • independent_independent_ Resident Coffee Addict ScotlandPosts: 6,241 Master Poster
    Aidan said:
    I don't do social media anymore, but from what I've seen the mental health content on social media can be a race to the bottom. It's great that some of the content can be inspiring and enouraging though, but some of it can be so competitive and I don't know why it has to be this way.

    I suppose if you're in a bad place mentally, if you see someone who seems to be doing 'worse' than you it might make your comparitively 'small' struggles look invalid. At the same time if someone is doing 'better' than you, you might feel weak that you just can't be like them and get 'better'.

    There's no way to verify honesty on the internet. There can be a paranoia that someone is faking or exaggerating mental health struggles for attention or validation or some other reason- which might absolutely enfuriate a group of people who actually go through those struggles who feel insulted and personally attacked.
    And while this does happen a little, a lot of the people who are being called out for being 'fake' will be going through genuine struggles, and they're just being persecuted by an angry mob. A group of people can be more harsh than any of the individuals in that group are capable of by themselves. 

    And another thing on social media: groupthink.

    Groupthink
    Noun
    The practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making.
    You make some very, very good points here @Aidan, thanks so much for sharing that. 

    Social media can be a really toxic place in general I think and it’s not just specific to MH communities by any means. I’ve been targeted on social media, I know countless others who have as well. I could go off on a massive tangent about the impact of general social media on mental health tbh.

    I can really see both sides. I understand how these communities on social media can make people feel less alone with what they’re going through. But eventually I think people will be drawn into all the competition and it could end up making them feel worse in some way. Either because, as you say, they think their struggles are small and insignificant compared to the struggles of others or because they think they’re too big and they’re worried they’re seeming ‘fake’. 
    “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
  • independent_independent_ Resident Coffee Addict ScotlandPosts: 6,241 Master Poster
    @Shaunie I’ve heard that about TikTok. It sounds like these things do more harm than good. 

    A question open to everyone: Do you think there is competition on social media when it comes to behaviours that could be harmful? For example do you think people use these behaviours to make their struggles seem more valid within that group? 
    “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
  • GreenTeaGreenTea ☕🌻☕ MidlandsPosts: 10,899 An Original Mixlorian
    I've witnessed a lot of competition on Instagram. It almost feels like people are just trying to show off that they are worse than everyone else and it's a horrible feeling. It's harmful and dangerous.
    There's a lot of competition with eating disorders and people tend to bounce off each other with them..same as self harm. I feel like some people post way to much about self harm, almost like they want to look worse than others who are posting. I use to take time to read captions of photos and read posts on stories but I just felt like I was judging a competition of who had it worse and it made me feel really deflated. I took a step back from Instagram because of it.
    It can be really toxic and I don't think a lot of people realise how toxic and dangerous they are being when trying to 'be worse off' than someone else..

    The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.     

    Astrid Alauda

    independent_
  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 2,982 Boards Guru
    Questions to anybody who knows more about mental health and social media than me:

    Do you think the competitiveness when it comes to mental health stops some people from seeking help?

    Are some social medias worse than others?

    Is social media competitive altogether, or is it a specific problem to mental health?

    Who seems to be 'competitive' more?- men, women, or is it an even split?

    Thanks! This is a great discussion btw @independent_ !!
    but idk tho
    independent_
  • independent_independent_ Resident Coffee Addict ScotlandPosts: 6,241 Master Poster
    I completely agree with you @GreenTea it is toxic and doesn’t give people the space they need to focus on coping with their own difficulties. It shifts the focus onto how people compare to each other. 

    Thank you @Aidan, I don’t really use much social media either (only Twitter) so hadn’t really seen much of this - making this discussion has been a real eye opener.

    As for your questions, I guess it could stop people getting help if they think other people have it worse than they do. They might start to think they’d be wasting the time of the people who can help, because they should be dealing with people who need it more than them (I know I’m guilty of thinking like this). 

    As @Starlight said above, it seems like TikTok is particularly bad for this, and instagram seems to be as well from what’s been said here. 

    Social media is definitely competitive in general. It’s all about who has the most ‘perfect’ life and who can be the ‘best’ at everything. 

    I’m not sure about the last question because of my lack of experience with these social media spaces - maybe others will be able to give their insight into that one :) 
    “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
    Aidan
  • StarlightStarlight 💃danceaholic🩰 Posts: 1,428 Wise Owl
    In reply to your questions @Aidan 100% it stops people seeking help, I know I stopped myself asking for help and talking to people for so long which really didn’t help me, and the main reason was seeing people that were “struggling more” etc. on socials especially Instagram at the time. The competitiveness makes you feel like your just being stupid and your not worse any help as others would need it more.

    As for are some socials worse from what I’ve witnessed TikTok is one of the absolute worst, so I rarely use it anymore, and then Instagram although I’ve been able to block out more of the competition on Instagram more recently by unfollowing people and following more dance and other creative accounts. And yes I still feel a bit down but I love the platform so for me it’s worth it to an extent as I’ve been able to get past being so effect like I was before.

    Yes socials are definitely very competitive in general, social media is a reel of highlights for many people and that can often make you feel shitty about yourself when you see girls dressed up or guys doing a million press ups and you feel incapable since they can something better than you. For me especially I have mostly dance accounts on Instagram and even though I love watching others dance and taking inspiration, sometimes I sit and watch 9 years do things that I can’t even do and think I’m a rubbish dancer because of it but that’s not true, but it’s just the nature of social media. It doesn’t effect me that much anymore as I’m surrounded by amazing supportive people but I can see how it could effect others.

    And Im probably biased here since I mostly only have girls on socials but I’ve never witnessed any boys/men being competitive especially with regards to mental health, but maybe it’s there I just haven’t seen it.

    Sorry for the long replies I just feel very strongly about the topic and it’s so important in today’s world especially due to so many people using social media and so many young people in particular!!
    “I got you, moonlight, you're my starlight
    I need you all night, come on, dance with me”

    * Shine like the star you are! *
    independent_Aidan
  • tkdogtkdog Posts: 216 Trailblazer
    I don't really use traditional social media much generally I found it very bad for my mood. Maybe for some people though it helps them reach out and have connection or monitor progress. I think its all the like buttons and the comparison between others than really makes it harmful. I think its good for buisness and organisations to spread their message though and share useful information and news.
    independent_
  • independent_independent_ Resident Coffee Addict ScotlandPosts: 6,241 Master Poster
    tkdog said:
    I don't really use traditional social media much generally I found it very bad for my mood. Maybe for some people though it helps them reach out and have connection or monitor progress. I think its all the like buttons and the comparison between others than really makes it harmful. I think its good for buisness and organisations to spread their message though and share useful information and news.
    You make an excellent point @tkdog yeah the like buttons etc can create a lot of problems with competition across social media who can get the most likes. 
    “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”
    tkdog
  • lovemimoonlovemimoon Posts: 240 Trailblazer
    I don't have social media anymore but from my experience, some social media platforms have a competitive streak. I believe that there's this generalized idea of what certain mental health disorders should be - and with that comes the gate-keeping, the comparisons, and what everyone has been saying - the 'who has it worse' competition.

    On one hand, it's good to see that there's a community that's going through similar experiences but it becomes an issue when that competitiveness overrides that. It may discourage people to reach out for help as they may doubt their own issues and may feel excluded. I believe that it doesn't just affect the people with mental health - people outside that circle as well.

    People who want to know more about mental health, people who aren't as receptive about mental health, people who aren't suffering and so on. They may see this competitive streak and it may leave them with a negative impression.
    independent_LorryTruck
  • JellyelephantJellyelephant Bpd bitch ✌🏼 Posts: 808 Part of The Mix Family
    i used to be a part of the Instagram "recovery community" and I still have my account purely because there is people I spoke to a lot I like to check are ok. I definitely felt that competitive spirit though and it was rly difficult. since I stopped using my account to post regularly I honestly feel it has helped me and looking back I wish I did it sooner. I don't really miss it much tbh
    The sun will rise and we will try again 
    lovemimoonindependent_
Sign In or Register to comment.