Being a part of Facebook mental health groups, I have made some observations. I have studied some of the posts that people make on the groups and the replies that these posts get.
This has made me to question: Are Facebook groups good for posting your problem and getting a practical solution or mental health advice?
Facebook groups are easily accessible and available in abundance. You can just join any group and start communicating with the people there.
But if you have a mental condition, issues or disorder that is significantly affecting your life and in some or all the areas of your life, should you be asking for help from strangers in FB group?
People don’t understand the severity
I have seen some posts where the people sounded like they are in immediate need of help but are hesitating to inform their friends and family. Sometimes, the family members are a cause of the mental agitation and the sufferer has no idea towards whom to turn to.
The easiest thing one can do in such case is to post on FB and forums. Needless to say that there are some people who give good advice but there are some people who don’t understand the severity of the situation and post comments that can be really discouraging, to say the least.
For example, I have seen people posting about problems related to anxiety and studies, while people in the comment advising them to spend less time with friends and gaming.
People don’t understand that their advice can have the opposite effect. A person who posts on the groups is not in a mental state to exercise discretion regards the comments and is further discouraged. So, if someone says the wrong thing to make you upset, pay no heed as they don’t know any better.
People don’t have personal experience with it
People without personal experience of mental disorders will not understand the mental disorder. Mental health awareness in India is very low.
Many people will treat you like it’s your own fault to have mental health problems. While others might have goodwill for you but don’t give the correct advice because of lack of context and proper knowledge.
Thus, if you are looking for a long-term solution, consulting a professional can be the only practical solution.
It’s difficult to explain because of the language barrier
Another thing that I noticed in these FB groups is the ability to explain their problem properly. Majority of people use English to make posts. It becomes problematic if they don’t have the right words to explain their problem.
It’s difficult to explain the complete situation to someone within 250 words. It may take 4-5 sessions with a psychologist for you to explain your whole situation to them. Thus, this limitation can cause people to give the wrong advice which won’t be of any help to you.
One should not look for a solution to severe mental health advice on Facebook groups, and forums. The lack of proper context is a major barrier for people giving you advice. And lack of awareness among people worsens the situation. If you are going to seek help on FB groups, take it with a pinch of salt.