Far too often in our society, we let social media label the happiness of an individual or a group. What we 'see' on platforms like Instagram and Facebook lead us to believe that some of those we 'follow' are perfectly happy and have their lives so effortlessly put together.
What we don't see however, is the truth behind some of these pictures, posts, likes and comments. The content on social media is often times a mask that paints the picture of artificial happiness. As 'followers,' we don't see the inaccuracy of these posts found in dark rooms behind closed doors. We don't feel the sharp pain of loneliness that is found offline in these individuals.
Social media is not always inaccurate, but the reality is that some of the content we see each and everyday is not representative of the true feelings of those who are posting online. According to a study on thousands of teenagers across Australia by Mission Australia:
22.8% of young people, ages 15-19, show symptoms of a probable mental illness. This percentage has increased from 18.7 percent over the last 5 years.
31.6% of indigenous Australians are affected by mental health.
Suicide rate is higher in males.
Teenage girls are twice as likely as teenage males to be in psychological distress.
These statistics are alarming in more ways than one and Mission Australia's CEO, Catherine Yeomans, expresses the urgency for the federal government to pay more attention to this issue. She states, "the effects of mental illness at such a young age can be debilitating and incredibly harmful to an individual's quality of life, academic achievement, and social participation both in the short term and long term."
The younger generations in our society are the ones who are experiencing the rapid growth and advancement of technological uses, especially seen in social media. However, at the same time, mental illness rates are increasing and our community is seeing the issue of social isolation to be growing simultaneously.
What this means is that the chaotic, online world that we seem to live in is quickly degrading our social capabilities when we find ourselves stuck to a screen more often than not. And in turn, social engagement becomes harder just as sports performance becomes more difficult the less that you practice or engage in it.
Social interaction stimulates the brain, but when adhering obstacles get in the way of allowing our social skills to take their course, our society is quick to feel the effects that loneliness can have on a person's mental and physical health, neither which are positive. Loneliness is as powerful as other fatal diseases, and it is something that our society can prevent through greater inclusion efforts and the use of available resources.
Australia has limitless resources for individuals experiencing mental illness and social isolation. Our Heroes are resources that can be a light in the lives of those in need, and external organizations around Australia are always there to help. All it takes is reaching out to a resource and you can save the life of someone in need.
Rather than watching our younger generations reach the breaking point of stressful environmental factors such as social acceptance, study requirements, school and work, join the movement to stop social isolation around you. Reaching out to a mental health resource for yourself or for a loved one shows no weakness. In fact it shows great strength, and our vision our Home Care Heroes is to provide a strong support system that can better the lives of those affected by many different obstacles, including mental health and social isolation.
To learn more on how to get involved with Home Care Heroes or to learn more about the work that we do, visit use here. We are always here to help and refer those in need to the right place!