There is no new group of influencers, counselors and psychiatrists on social media. With tens of thousands following on Instagram and Facebook, they are discussing myths about mental health, posting colorful notes to deal with anxiety, offering platforms where people ask them and each other Can talk to
“Social media certainly allows therapy to look more attractive,” says clinical psychologist Pragya Lodha. As more people need help building stress in anxiety, insomnia and epidemics, this is important, she adds. Many of the watchers are young, in need of help and have never spoken to a professional.
Lodha says that these posts can act as a gateway. Unlike the helpline, where the person is required to take the first step on social media, the professional can reach out. This may also make the idea of counseling less intimidating.
While such an approach can blur key limitations in any medical equation, it can also serve as an important starting point, mental health experts say.
24-year-old counseling psychologist Divya Bhasin from Delhi has posted 30- to 50-second videos on Instagram as @ awkwardgoat3. She posts about anxiety, cyberbullying, feminism, problems at school, mental health for men and about 22,000 followers.
Bhasin makes his posts attractive using an element of humor and surprise, and is wary of tensions, online and off, that videos are not an option for therapy. But she is receiving so many requests to book a session that she is tied up with a clinical psychologist to provide therapy over audio and video calls.
“I think my videos work well because they are presented in an entertaining way and people know they’re coming from a professional,” she says. “I stay away from listing the symptoms, because I’ve never found it so helpful – and it motivates people to self-diagnose and become more anxious.”
A 21-year-old medical student from Bengaluru, on the condition of anonymity, said that she reached out to Bhasin on Instagram to help with her anxiety and low self-esteem. This was in the early days of lockdown. “I find Divyang helpful because she is young, so I find it easy to share my concerns with her,” the student says. “He is very unjust and honest. I also think that his posts on Instagram helped destroy the therapy. “
Clinical psychologist Srishti Asthana (@ words.of.a.psychologist) has been posting on Instagram since March. “I’ve been very honest on my page about my mental health issues,” she says. “I also post about social issues like the ‘locker-room’ and objectification of women. But I do not adopt the textbook method.
Her video has been viewed more than 70,000 times online on the dangerous practice of ineligible motivators paying “medical” sessions.
His approach – whether talking about failed relationships or professional stumbling blocks – is simple, and direct but empowering. This is important because people arriving on Instagram are typically between 14 and 35 years old, the counselor says.
“They are often school students who cannot use therapy. I sometimes share the helpline’s links with them because in most cases their parents don’t really understand what they are doing,” Bhasin it is said.
One such platform is Therapiz India, founded in August by psychologist Aviva Bhansali and journalist Anushka Kelkar. This site seeks to help connect individuals with qualified therapists across India across specialties and budgets. The handle has around 16,600 followers on Instagram.
Kelkar says, “Our posts about choosing the right therapist, what to expect from therapy, who should consider the demand for therapy, and how to support the loved ones that resonate most with our audience. “
In a country with 0.29 psychiatrists per 100,000 people – against a recommended 3 per 100,000 – according to 2017 World Health Organization data, online access to counseling becomes even more important.
“You have to know your limits, as a physician and patient,” says Lodha, a clinical psychologist. “Many untrained individuals advocate highly simplified etiquette for mental health, making it all about positive thinking, having a hobby, and being productive. This further increases stigma about mental illness and prevents people from seeking genuine help. Online medical advice should never be seen as an alternative to psychotherapy, which is confidential, safe and meets individual needs. “
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