Social media for healthy mind?: Community-based mental health platform 'Now&Me' tells us more
Through mutual engagement, the social site almost functioned as an informal help space.
***I’m so tired, done and feel like my mind would just explode—Ananimas, 3 am thoughts on Now&Me.
***Why do I always give my 100 per cent efforts but what I get in return is betrayal, fakeness and gets ditched every time—ThatMantalBoy writes under the ‘loneliness’ hashtag.
***It would be best if I disappeared then I wouldn’t disappoint so many people and most importantly I could just leave. And no one would know. —Confused aatma, under depression and anxiety hashtag.
When such messages from besties in the group chat at midnight pop up, chances are that some people will log off. They are in no mood to deal with angst. Instead, concerned friends could point them in the direction of the community-based mental health platform Now&Me. Millennials have innumerable friends or are part of WhatsApp peer groups, but Now&Me and similar platforms are exclusively for individuals who pour out their hearts to the world and seek advice; anonymously of course.
Through mutual engagement, the social site almost functioned as an informal help space. After three years of virtual helpmates, Now&Me has decided to rope in professional help. Its ambit has grown exponentially, meanwhile—users from 180+ countries have posted over one million thoughts and exchanged 500,000 messages. “This May, we launched, Therapy&Me, which allows an individual to connect with mental health professionals and book therapy sessions at their convenience on the platform,” said Co-founders Drishti Gupta and Bani Singh, and in-house psychologist Shaifila Ladhani. Users simply log in, use an anonymous name and start their conversations. Other users respond in three to five minutes and the discussions start rolling.
Do opening up to strangers help resolve mental issues? According to a new study, about 17.3 million people experience at least one major depressive episode in a year, while over 40 million people experience one anxiety disorder. Social media is an important tool for seeking and sharing information and functions as a coping mechanism. The research conducted by Najma Akhter and Pradeep Sopory from Wayne University, Michigan, was published in the January 2022 edition of The Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science.
“Today, many people face issues they can’t share with their friends and family. When a person rants, it relieves the burden of carrying the stress around,” explains Gupta. Individuals who go on the platform get insights and advice from strangers who might relate to their troubles. To know that you aren’t alone, creates a huge difference, adds Ladhani. How does one know if the anonymous fulminations have stopped and found a solution? There is a feedback system in place that monitors outcomes. In most cases, the user who asked the question ends the session by saying that they have reached a resolution or are feeling better. But what is the red flag that shows something is wrong? “Too much or too little sleep,” says Gupta. And those 3 am thoughts too.
“Today, many people face issues they can’t share with their friends and family. When a person rants,
it relieves the heavy burden of carrying the stress around for a long time.” Drishti Gupta
“This May we launched Therapy&Me, which allows an individual to connect with mental health professionals and book therapy sessions at their convenience on the platform.” Bani Singh