Looking for those responsible for this situation can lead us to an endless discussion, which can range from the lack of regulations in social networks regarding the publication of content, the responsibility that influencers have when making their posts or the implications of the campaigns created by brands that glorify social stereotypes.
The case of the suicide of Molly Russell (14 years old), has opened the debate on the use of social networks in England. Her father discovered that six months before his daughter’s death, she had reacted to more than 2,000 posts on social media related to self-harm, depression, or suicide, which makes us wonder, is there a power to blame social media or Is it individual responsibility to decide the type of content we consume?
It should also be remembered that, in October 2022, the former employee of Meta, Frances Haugen, showed studies carried out by the company showing that the consumption of Instagram leads to problems with mental health, body image, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts. According to the internal study, 13.5% of teens said Instagram worsens their suicidal thoughts, while 17% of those surveyed said it aggravates their eating disorders.
Network regulations and how people use them is not something that can be changed overnight. But where we can add, as digital and communication strategists, is advising our clients on their campaigns, so that they are accompanied by a #mentalhealth component. For example, we can evaluate our client’s product and see when it can affect mental health and from there work on messages to correct the possible negative image.
Also, add a positive and authentic essence to the campaigns, which will help the messages to be better received or encourage consumers to share positive stories related to your products. All of the above will have better results, as long as the company is consistent in both its external and internal communication.
The most important thing is that the communication not only take place in October, the month dedicated to mental health awareness, but that it be a recurring and important theme throughout the year.