Author Archives: anyaolson10

The Glorification of Mental Illness in Social Media: The Negative Effects on Individual’s Lives.

Demorest, Ga— Social media allows people to remain connected to others at all times, but it can also have to negative effects on individual’s lives. 

“The risk of negative consequences on an individual with mental health are much greater when an individual is constantly online,” Said Abby Cox, a junior Mass Communications major. “Multiple factors like social media lead to mental illness.” 

Cox presented her research, “Beautiful Suffering Turned to Dark Dismay: Glorification of Mental Illness on Social Media,” at The 2020 Piedmont Symposium, held on April 15. Cox recalls misconceptions and misbeliefs of mental illness within the media. Expressing concern for the well-being and mental health of others, she notes the negative impact that social media has on those with illnesses. 

“Belittling the severity of mental illness can make those with mental illness feel belittled,” She said. 

Cox’s words regarded the seriousness of her topic. Cox says the impact that a belittling statement, such as being “depressed” because an individual is unable to attend a concert, has a detrimental effect on a person who is clinically depressed.

“These statements hurt your feelings and make you think that maybe your pain doesn’t matter or isn’t anything serious,” Cox says. 

The more social media romanticizes mental illness, the less likely it is for an individual with an actual mental illness to speak up. An individual’s self-esteem plummets and their health and well-being are harmed. 

“By researching this topic, it has really opened my eyes on how frequently mental illness is glorified through social media,” Cox said, noting that millions of individuals suffer from mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder. “So, the fact that some people are not taking such a thing seriously is disheartening.” 

Cox says that individuals on social media platforms use emotions such as sadness in their photo captions and poses online. Other viewers will look up to these photos and then strive to be ‘sad’ as well. People on social media are not aware of their impact on those who are mental ill. 

Dr. Melissa Tingle, mass communications professor and Cox’s research adviser, said that she has seen social media used as a channel to highlight mental illness. “Sometimes they are constructively written and helpful to others and some lack of false humility and pity that feels like the individual is seeking attention.”

Tingle thinks that some individuals use mental illness in social media as a way to gain attention. Although some people are genuine, others are ignorant to their negative actions on social media. Tingle says that it is best if people are more aware of what they are putting online.

“I had never really noticed the negative impact until now,” Connor Rogers said after watching Cox’s presentation, “I can see now that my friends act sad to seem cool — like it is a popular trend.” 

Rogers recalls hearing his friends throw around the word “depression” as a casual thing. He says that it seems like people want to be depressed because it makes them cooler and edgier than others. 

“People need to realize that mental illness is a real thing that affects millions of people,” Rogers said. “Throwing around terms like depression and anxiety need to stop.” 

Rogers realizes that mental illness is a severe disease and individuals should do what they can to eliminate the glorification in social media. He is willing to do his part in spreading positivity online and around his peers in order to stop the glorification. 

“We have to be careful about what we post and how our posts are interpreted,” Cox said. “We should help stop the things that other people post if they are glorifying social media.” 

Cox calls for the increased spread of positivity on social media as well as more awareness when someone is typing a caption or taking a photo in order to stop the glorification of mental illness.

Cox talks about her ability to impact social media in a positive way. Although she may not be feeling very positive one day, she knows that other individuals who are struggling will need an extra boost to their confidence. 

“I try to spread as much positivity as possible on social media,” Cox said. “Somebody else might need to see it as well, and that could very well turn their day around if they are struggling.”

Building Key Life Skills in A Healthy Enviornment

Demorest, Ga— Teaching key life values in a healthy environment is what motivates Rachel Hines to coach collegiately. 

“I strive to make the atmosphere healthy and competitive,” said Rachel Hines, assistant women’s soccer coach at Piedmont College. “I want my players to learn key attributes they can apply to their life in the future.”

Rachel Hines has worked at Piedmont College for nearly two years now. As a recent graduate and student-athlete from University of Washington, she is able to relate to her players on a deeper level due to the close age gap as well as her collegiate athletic experience. After graduating with a degree in English, Hines decided to jump at the opportunity to coach when she moved to Georgia. Hines has been devoted to soccer her entire life and wanted a new experience by coaching. 

“I had the opportunity to shadow my college coaches,” she said. “I enjoyed that experience and learned some critical coaching skills.” 

Hines realized she wanted to coach from her love of soccer but also her time shadowing her previous coaches. Hines implements her experience as an athlete coming from a highly ranked college. She now utilizes her familiarity of the game as well as learned skills to coach a new generation of players. 

“I want to be a positive role model,” she said. “Every day should be fun and joyful, but also competitive and healthy.”

Hines encourages her players to be competitive on the pitch, while also staying lighthearted. According to Hines, practices should include a certain amount of intensity, as well as fun, in order to keep the space positive.

“I know how stressful college is,” Hines said. “I want the environment for my players to be healthy.” 

Although soccer is an incredibly aggressive and intense sport, Hines works to make her impact positive and safe. Instead of making the environment tense, she strives to relieve the stress of each day and welcome every player to an encouraging atmosphere. 

“I really want to push the girls to be what they can be and take ownership of it,” she said. “Having a joyful and healthy life balance are critical aspects needed for future of my players.” 

A Journey to Finding Myself

Throughout my life I have never lived in a stable environment. I grew up in a military family, which included moving every 3 or so years. I have lived in a total of 5 states including Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, South Carolina and California. I had become terribly accustomed to changing schools, making new friends and living in a foriegn area. Life was never constant for me. I could never rely on being in a certain place which meant my life was always up in the air. I’ve been on a journey to find myself while areas in my life continually changed. However, methods of finding myself came from multiple areas in my life. Through soccer, family and sincere friendships, I developed charcatertistics which guided my path towards finding myself.

Soccer has been my ride or die. Soccer has allowed me to discover myself as an athlete as well as a person. I began playing at the young age of 4 years old. As I moved around, I was able to depend on soccer for my social and physical life. I began making new friends easily with every new team I was on. And while making friends, I was in a happy enviornment. Secondly, I was practicing further and increasing my soccer skills. I was now a exceptionally better athlete. I found my passion and my drive through soccer. I also had a weekly activity to look forward to which gave me hope to having a future around soccer. With that in mind, I decided to look at colleges in which I will be able to have a part of me at a future school.

My family has always been an incredible support to me. I credit my success to their supportiveness. My parents continuously encouraged me to follow my passions such as soccer as well as soccer interests. They drove me everywhere I needed to be without a complant. My extended family also supported me by showing interest in my studies as well as coming to any soccer games they could, regardless of how far away they may be. I am forever grateful for my families effort to support me. I could not have made it through any challenges or tough times wihout them by my side.

Lastly, moving to different states gave me the opportunity to come in contact with individuals from different areas of the country. I have friends all around the United States. Although making friends can be challenging and scary, the ones I do have are exceptional and wholesome individuals. My friends put giant smiles on my face while leaving me with a stomach ache from too much laughter. They made me feel purposeful and important which gave me confidence. Having such great friends who supported me and challenged me to become a better person made me feel good about myself. I also discovered that I loved being social and interacting with others, which guided me to knowing I wanted to pursue a career that involved communicating with individuals. Thanks to some great friends, I was able to find a new social and confident aspect of myself.

Altogether, my journey to finding myself has been bumpy, I have prospered due to soccer, family and friends as support. Moving around while growing up is not easy. I learned to make the best of everywhere I moved by turning my experience positive. So, through constant suport and encouragement I was able to develop as a person and find key aspects of myself. Furthermore, the charcateristics I learned about myself eventually led me to Piedmont College. Piedmont College continues to make me a well-rounded individual through Liberal Arts education, playing on the women’s soccer team as well as finding new amazing friends. I am thankful for where my journey has led me.