Social media is both wonderful and evil. It’s most evil when pics and posts depict the most negative impressions of life’s moments. I noticed this recently with the sad stories of the recent passing of True Blood actor, Nelsan Ellis, and the unfortunate appearance of Maia Caldwell’s outburst on the Internet.
The story recently broke that Mr. Ellis passed away from heart failure at the young age of 39yo. I could tell the medical community online was confused, including myself, about how such a young, vibrant-appearing father and talent would have succumb to such a disease at his age. We usually associate congestive heart failure with much older adults, with history of risk factors, like hypertension and cholesterol. And then, today, his family reportedly released more details. It appeared to be a result of long-term alcohol and substance use and abuse.
Around the same time, a video of a young man seeing Ms. Caldwell at a gas station with some teeth missing and acting a bit irrationally went viral. Some reports note she has been on drugs or may still be on drugs. Years ago, it was also reported that she had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. These 2 situations are sadly but appropriately being highlighted during this month, which is National Minority Mental Health Month.
The Internet has made it that much harder to deal with tough times. It broadcasts the best and the worst of us, and what we’re going through. For those suffering from mental illness—depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or substance abuse. In 2015, it was reported that 17.9% of the nation’s adults (age 18+) suffered from mental illness. In minority populations, are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use inpatient hospitalization and emergency rooms, and more likely to receive lower quality care.** We clearly have a discrepancy and a problem. Oftentimes, social media shines a spotlight on these issues and makes light of them. It creates even more of a stigma when seen on screens. I think it makes people less likely to take things seriously and seek help. We should be encouraging and reaching out to help more than liking and sharing these stories online.
You can’t always do it alone. Please reach out for help, if needed.
Just my 2 cents….
**as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health, http://www.nimh.nih.gov