Twitter takes on many different roles as a social media platform — from offering a platform for commercial businesses to connect to an audience, to becoming a space where people can just rant for as long as they want (of course within their 280 character limit per tweet).
Another role Twitter has seemingly taken on is giving therapeutic advice on mental health topics, with many familiar names weighing in their opinions.
On December 16, Chance the Rapper’s manager tweeted a thread that went viral about his experiences with mental illness and how others can recover. Starting the thread, the manager begins with a list of “self-help” tips that he claims should be looked at before “considering mental illness drugs”. Some things on the list are “make ur bed”, “get more sun”, “give thanks”, and “realize ur loved”. Adding three tweets on, he talks about his experience becoming addicted to xanax and when he “saw the end”. While there was praise for his advice, there was also a lot of anger that came from it, mainly for leaving out a key resource for many — therapy.
Tweets like this always touch a global nerve in the online community — some people agree, and others think it’s hearsay. Most of the anger is directed to the fact that people think that small, self-help tips are the best way to help with mental illness, as if therapy and taking medication is something to be shameful of.
Society as a whole has always seen mental health as a taboo topic — even now there is still stigma around reaching out for help, especially for young people. When someone they respect writes tweets that have underlying implications of “therapy shouldn’t be your first option, stop being sad and sit in the sun for awhile”, it discourages them from letting others know that they are struggling.
With more and more of these tweets coming out, Twitter seems to have become split into two worlds — those who support the efforts of therapists and medication, and those who think the sun will fix it all. Ironically enough, as Twitter continues to shift into an app devoted to venting anger for all of the internet to see, more people begin to see therapy as a way of taking an easy way out.
Giving credit to the manager, along with amending that one should see a professional if they feel like they should, he does later state that he “hope[s] we can all get the help we deserve”, but maybe social media isn’t the best way of finding that help.