Social media controls our lives in countless ways. That’s obvious. I mean they’re called ‘influencers’ for a reason.

Now, sit back and think about this. Someone that you don’t even know can have a death-grip control over so many aspects of your daily life.

That’s honestly terrifying.

Lately, I’ve seen an abundance of posts about mental health.

I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness, so why am I not thrilled about this?

The posts I have been seeing are geared towards self-diagnosis. Battling mental health can be so scary. Trust me, I know this first hand.

Having a stranger on social media tell you that you have this mental illness because you do things a certain way? That can just add to the fear factor.

These posts are creating an increase in conversation about mental health, which is wonderful , but it’s also full of unregulated information.

I have yet to see a post of this nature come from a medical professional. This means we could be self-diagnosing based on an abundance of misinformation, and it could also be helping you mask the root cause of the problem.

Many individuals see they relate to this person in one or two ways and automatically assume they have the same problem.

In this aspect, mental health is no different than physical health.

Say you have a stomach ache and a fever. Your classmate also has a stomach ache and a fever. They get diagnosed with a minor stomach bug, so you assume yours is the same thing. The reality is that a stomach ache and fever are symptoms for an abundance of problems.

The same goes for mental health. You may have one or two of the similar symptoms but have a completely different issue going on.

If you see these posts and think there may be something wrong, I urge you to seek a professional and not the self-help tips posted by the random “quirky” influencer.

(I’m fully aware that access to healthcare, especially for mental health, is not as easily accessible as it should be. That being said, there are many resources available to get help.)

Social media can be an excellent resource to raise awareness, and I encourage you to use your platform to find a support system that benefits you. Mental health is no easy battle.

However, it’s important to remember that an actual diagnosis is not the only path forward. You don’t have to put a label on it to find help and work on improving yourself.

Laci Sutton is a Nickerson senior studying nursing. She is the Collegian’s Opinion Page Editor.

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