How can patients avoid stigma online and especially using social media?

Unfortunately, stigma has migrated online and into social media. While there are many useful resources and roles social media can serve, it is likely patients will be exposed to some stigmatizing content when online. In a recent study looking at the Twitter hashtag #MyTipsforMentalHealth that trended with World Mental Health Day in 2017, the majority of content was positive and supportive, but inappropriate and stigmatizing content was not rare. Given the realities of the internet, it may be useful to ensure patients are aware of both the risk and benefits and prepared to encounter sometimes stigmatizing content. You should let patients know they can often report such content and have it flagged for removal. To learn more about social media and SMI, you can watch our webinar Social Media and Serious Mental Illness: The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown.

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