#ThisIsOurStory: The unheard stories in social media

Facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat— a few of the social media platforms being used by many to share updates and stories of their lives.  From day to day outfit, adventures, success, to FAILURES, break ups, conflicts, struggles, and rants.

In the world of click and share of what’s in, and what’s trending, would there be a room for sharing of problems, will someone care? Too often, social media are also being used to vent out problems. Some may consider these posts annoying and will let it pass their feed, little did we know that the people on the other end are depressed, and actually needs our help.

mental health

#ThisIsAStory of a college colleague who expresses her problems in social media, with no assurance of being heard. To some, this is another random spur of the moment thoughts, petty issues— a joke. No one knew but her what she’s actually going through.

#ThisIsAStory of 4.5 million Filipino who, according to WHO, are depressed. Depression—a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration (WHO, 2016).  But even more depressing is that only one out of three who suffer from depression will seek the help of a specialist; and one third may not even be aware of their condition.

#ThisIsAStory of the 0.7% household, according to Social Weather Station, in the Philippines having a member with Mental Disorder.

#ThisIsAStory of a colleague who was very shocked when his close friend committed suicide. No body knew his friend was depressed. He seemed very jolly, adventurous, alive. If only he spent a few moments to ask; if during that time he had the courage to talk to him, make him feel he is not alone; If only, he might have saved him.

#ThisIsAstory of 2,559 (550 female, 2009 male) suicide victims in the Philippines, according to WHO (2012). Suicide, the second leading cause of death globally among people 15 to 29 years of age (WHO, 2014). 30% to 70% suicide victims are suffering from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.

#ThisIsAStory of friends, or friends of friends who were afraid to share their experience because stigma against mental is so powerful that people who have the illness don’t feel safe with people knowing.

#ThisIsAStory of a colleague who went to a general physician to ask for a referral. She had experienced extremely low moods, loss of appetite, sleepless nights, and hopelessness due to different problems especially her long distance relationship. The doctor dismissed the problem and just prescribed her antihistamine. She was discouraged by this but her friends pushed her to eventually go to a psychiatrist. She is now on medication and managing her bipolar disorder thanks to her friends’ support and her doctor’s care.

#ThisIsAStory of a person with Mental Health Problem having no friends, family, or support group who completely understands his situation and prefers to keep it to herself. Friends and family as support group, play an important role in the mental health stability and treatment.

#ThisIsAStory of LM 18 years old, died Feb 2015; RS 16 years old, died Feb 2015; LH 53, and Family of 5, died Feb 2015; KL 16 years old, died Mar 2015; CL 17 years old, died Jan 2016; MG 48 years old, died Feb 2016; EE 62 years old died March 2016; suicide victims from 2015.

#ThisIsAStory one in  five adult Filipinos with mental health disorder, having difficulty in accessing immediate quality health care due to lack of mental health institutions, psychiatrists, and drugs.

This is your story. So the next time you have a spare time from this busy week, spare a thought to someone you know, talk to them, because you’ll never know the next victim might be screaming for your help on your news feed.  This is a story of your friend, of your loved one, of a friend of friend. This is our story. Listen.

  • T1. How can social media effectively target vulnerable groups and encourage them to speak up and reach out
  • T2. How can the confidentiality of the patient be protected with out compromising the feeling of assurance that someone is actually listening to them.
  • T3.  How can the people on the receiving end be more equipped mentally, emotionally, and psychologically; be equipped of the right words, right suggestions; and be more vigilant of the red flags of suicidal tendencies. 

[box type=”info”]#ThisIsOurStory is a campaign that aims to create a safe community of people, and friends of people with mental health problems; encouraging them to talk, to share, seek help. This is our story of hope, hope for individuals with mental health problems to continue living their normal life; This is our story of hope that someday there will be no stigma against Mental illness; This is our story of hope that someday every individual with Mental health problem could avail quality health care; this is our story of hope that many will be more knowledgeable, vigilant, understanding to the struggles of people with mental health problems. #ThisIsOurStory[/box]