I am noticing a disturbing trend on Social media. I hope this is just isolated incidents, and the people involved realise that there’s a very fine line to be skirted here that maybe, possibly, is being overstepped by the zealous.
There is an increasing feeling that some people are using mental health as a way to sell themselves.
First off, let’s be clear: having mental issues being discussed openly is NEVER something I want to stop. It’s an important, nay essential part of removing the stigma and increasing awareness. However, as has been the case in the last few weeks, I’m seeing people using mental health issues to promote websites (that aren’t anything other than personal portals) and to sell items, where I’m told the money goes to help mental health charities, but the implication remains that they’re also allowing individuals to profit from the exposure. I appreciate the sentiments behind sites like this, but honestly? That’s not the way this works.
Twitter wins with charities like Time to Change whose presence is 100% not about selling me something or offering suspicious advice that may only work for a minority of people. The sometimes broad-brush nature may annoy those who feel there are better ways to deal with these illnesses, but the fact remains the generic nature of their campaigns reaches the widest possible audience. Accepting you have a problem will be the hardest thing most people ever do. After that? Then you get the chance to work out the details.
Watching other people using mental illness as the means by which to further themselves has always been a prickly subject to address, especially on Social media where it is almost impossible to tell who’s being honest (or not.) I know where I stand on this, that my mental issues are very much real and historic, but can’t speak for anybody else. What I would absolutely never do is use that as a means to market myself. I make headers for posts to alert people to the discussion, but you won’t see it used in the Patreon as a selling point at any time. My personal life is something I talk about, but which doesn’t get sold. If I help somebody by sharing, then great, but there’s no way that becomes my stock in trade.
Without the Mindfulness Course, my life would be a lot more stressful right now. I’m very grateful for the lessons learnt and an ability to step out of myself objectively. I just hope those people jumping on the coattails of the mental health ‘revolution’ currently taking place are well aware of the depth of responsibility everyone shoulders when they talk about their illness. Using it to sell your product is wrong. Using it to sell yourself may be even more insidious.