If you came to this page hoping to be told, “Well, just don’t worry about it; post anything you’d like, and you’ll be fine!” you’ve come to the wrong place. There is a very valid reason that there are fears about posting and being vulnerable on social media. Each individual needs to be careful on the internet in their own way for their own protection – we won’t sugarcoat that here.
Do you need to be terrified that every anonymous profile is someone out to get you? No. But is a healthy awareness and caution around what you share online a good thing? Absolutely. Once something has been posted to the internet, you can safely assume it will be publicly available for life.
This page will review how to identify when your fears may be irrational vs. when you may give yourself too many allowances and forget online safety and ethics practices. Some of it may feel like tough love, but there are genuine warnings that you should take seriously.
Will the People You Know ‘IRL’ Find Your Page?
If you are afraid of the people you know in your external life – family, friends, jobs, partners, etc. – finding out about your disorder, you should not post about it online. This includes thinking into the future and whether or not you will care about this in 5 – 10 – 15 years. This is the harsh reality that you do need to decide before posting. Devices track everything nowadays. Even if you turn off syncing to contacts, your phone might still recommend your account to people you know. Accidents happen.
If this is a source of anxiety for you, you will always be anxious about it once you begin to post. That is setting yourself up for a mental health spiral that is not worth it. Only post if you are 100% sure that you are okay with everyone in your life finding your account and everything you say on there, not only now but in the future.
Optional Extra Steps for Safety
- Make a private account. This way, you can screen all follower requests, and nothing you post will be seen unless you have approved someone. Be aware, however, that a follower may repost your content somewhere more public.
- Make any mental health/trauma-related content ‘friends only’. Only friend people with whom you are comfortable sharing. Again, however, be aware that it may spread once the material has hit the internet.
- Do not engage with minors online; make it clear on your social media that it is not a space for minors. If you don’t feel you have the education or know-how to be a role model for minors and are talking about sensitive information, intentionally not engaging with them is the smart decision. Remember, the responsibility is on you to not engage with minors, not on them to choose to see that your page is ‘not for minors’ or ‘minors DNI’. You are the adult and are responsible for upholding the rules you set with minors on your page.
- Just don’t post things if you’re unsure about it. Keep things in drafts if you just want the experience of making them. If you’re unsure or scared, don’t do it.
Mental Health Content Creation + Ethics
Creating content about mental health and being vulnerable about your experiences to help others can be very powerful. It is vital to approach any content creation, especially within the mental health and trauma community, with ethical considerations in mind. Some key points regarding ethics in content creation in the mental health and trauma communities include:
- Use evidence-based information: When you are creating content based around mental health and trauma, you must ensure the information you share is based on evidence and research. It’s very easy to hear several people say something that sounds convincing or shocking and to parrot it yourself. Do your research and confirm things before repeating things on your platform, and ensure you’re giving correct and up-to-date information.
- Use trigger warnings for common triggers. You can generally use your common sense if you need to warn about something, but below are some common subjects that merit notice. Trigger warnings should be prominently posted – not just in a video caption.
TRIGGER WARNING – these subjects will be completely written out.
Common triggers include words like suicide and rape, topics such as eating disorders, sexual assault, death, or torture, and visuals like blood or something that might look like blood.
END TRIGGER WARNING
- Provide resources and support. Include links to hotlines, websites, or mental health resources in your content. Direct your audience to other creators who have resources for support.
- Consider the audience that you’re speaking to and making content for. If you’re making a page and content regularly dedicated to mental health and trauma, you’ll get a user base of those who are mentally ill and who have been through trauma. To use that same page to post other things that are inappropriate (but might be appropriate to post on a personal account) is something to be aware of.
- It might be a good idea to make a separate account, potentially private, to post personal things if you are using another account to speak about trauma and mental health, as that comes with a level of responsibility to your audience. This also can somewhat depend on how you set expectations – if you tell your audience your page is a safe space, then you need to uphold that for them.
- Avoid sensationalizing trauma or mental illness. These serious issues should not be used for clickbait or sensationalized content. Approaching these topics with sensitivity and respect is incredibly important to creating ethical content.
Social Media Pressures
Not Everything Needs to be ‘Normalized’
You’ll often hear creators using ‘normalizing’ DID to the general population as an excuse for oversharing or doing things that are likely very harmful to their mental health and often unsafe online. Normalizing conversations around mental health and accepting people who are different from you, listening with an open mind, understanding that people have different experiences, and not judging someone when you see them exhibiting behaviors that are out of your general sphere of understanding is great. But not every detail of every disorder needs to be normalized to the general public. If you hear a creator use this excuse while exhibiting toxic or concerning behavior, know that it may be a red flag, and they might be defensive at this moment because they know they’re likely in the wrong and they’re likely either doing something unethical and/or they are dealing with some form of internet addiction and are probably not a very safe or reputable person to get your information from.