Social Media as A Veritable Tool for Mental Health Support in Nigeria

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Social Media as A Veritable Tool for Mental Health Support in Nigeria

Arikenbi Peter Gbenga, Ainakhuagbor Aimiomode, Chukwuma Lawrence Nwosu, Ikharo Seluman
Department of Mass Communication, Edo State University Uzairue, Edo State, Nigeria
DOI: https://doi.org/10.51244/IJRSI.2023.10723
Received: 16 June 2023; Accepted: 19 July 2023; Published: 19 August 2023

Abstract: This study examines social media as a veritable tool for mental health support in Nigeria. The researchers embarked on this study with the intention of achieving four objectives; and based on the intended objectives, four research questions were formulated to serve as a guide for this study. This study is hinged on the Technology Acceptance Model and data was collected using documentation. Findings reveal that mental health issues have been on the rise in Nigeria, and accessing mental health services has always been a significant challenge due to the stigma attached to it. However, with the rise of social media, individuals now have access to mental health services online. Social media platforms have become an essential tool for mental health support in Nigeria. This study also finds out that social media platforms have increased access to mental health support services for Nigerians who may not have had access to them previously due to distance, financial barriers, or lack of mental health services in their communities. The study recommends that social media can be an excellent platform for sharing resources related to mental health support. You can post links to helplines, online support groups, and other resources that people can access when they need help. Encourage others to share these resources with their friends and family members.

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Keywords: Mental Health, Social Media, Stigma, Support, Therapy Introduction

I. Introduction

Social media has become an essential part of modern communication, and its usage continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. The social media platform has become a vital tool for people to connect with others, express themselves, and share ideas. However, social media is not just a platform for entertainment; it has become a veritable tool for mental health support in Nigeria. With the increasing burden of mental health in Nigeria, social media is becoming more important as a means of providing support and resources to individuals who are struggling with mental health problems.

Mental health is an essential aspect of overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, the burden of mental health problems is significant. The World Health Organization estimates that one in four Nigerians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives, and only about 10% of these individuals will receive treatment (World Health Organization, 2017). The stigma associated with mental health problems in Nigeria, coupled with a lack of resources and access to care has contributed to the low rates of treatment seeking.

Lawrence (2019) noted that social media has become a tool for mental health support in Nigeria. The use of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook has increased in Nigeria, providing opportunities for individuals to connect with others and share experiences. Social media has allowed individuals to share their mental health journeys, provide support and resources to others, and reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems.
According to Olubunmi (2021), social media provides a space for individuals to share their mental health experiences without fear of judgment. For instance, on Twitter, hashtags such as #MentalHealthMatters and #EndTheStigma are used to create conversations around mental health, share resources and offer support to those in need. On Instagram, mental health advocates share their stories, provide resources and create a community where individuals can connect and share experiences.
Social media has also provided a platform for mental health professionals to offer support and resources to individuals who are struggling with mental health problems. Mental health professionals in Nigeria are leveraging social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to offer online counseling, mental health resources, and support groups for individuals who need it. For instance, the Nigerian Psychological Association offers online counseling services on their website, and mental health professionals such as Dr. Gbonjubola Abiri offer online counseling services via Twitter.

Furthermore, social media has provided a platform for mental health organizations to share resources and create awareness about mental health problems. Mental health organizations such as Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) and She Writes Woman have used social media to create awareness about mental health issues, provide resources and support to individuals who are struggling with mental health problems.