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Being by Doing: Identity Constructs of Social Media Mental Health Activists

Luna Lopez, Mariana (2023) Being by Doing: Identity Constructs of Social Media Mental Health Activists.

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Abstract:This research paper analyses how mental health activists on social media construct their individual and social identities in connection to their spectator activities. A reflexive thematic analysis of 19 interviews of young adults of ages 19-25 was performed. From this, seven themes and eight subthemes of identity were identified. Participants varied in their identity constructions, expressing their personal roles within digital mental health activism and the roles of others. They also commented on their attributed importance to diagnosing and labelling, their perception of others and increased knowledge and awareness. Finally, they expressed the motives for self-improvement that often led to their engagement with mental health activism on social media. Overall, the themes of community and diagnosis and labelling were most frequent across this dataset. This showed how social media mental health activists perceive this activism as forming a culture of community and belonging. These frequent themes also highlight how diagnosis and labelling is a common topic within this activism. These findings support the potential of this form of activism for the promotion of mental health support and self-help, information seeking and sharing, and de-stigmatisation of mental health. Hence, this paper recommends further quantitative and qualitative research on the mental health content shared on social media and how it is perceived by users. Future findings could help achieve positive outcomes in the promotion of positive mental health and the de-stigmatisation of mental health issues by better informing the creation and consumption of mental health content on social media.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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