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Can Internet Memes Be Used as a Coping Tool For Mental Health?

TW // The following article discusses topics of, depression, anxiety, and trauma that may be triggering for some.

Do you ever find yourself scrolling endlessly through instagram when you're having a tough day, looking at silly memes in an attempt to make yourself laugh and lighten your mood? Although we may not want to admit it, many of us tend to use the Internet as a substitute for therapy. Typically comprised of an image and a short caption, and often used as a way of collectively relating to one another, memes have become a crucial part of digital culture. They are used in many different contexts and can be suited to fit all sorts of different topics, and mental health is no exception. Mental health memes may help us to understand that were not alone in our struggles, and comfort us by making jokes about our problems and allowing us to look at them in a less stressful and negative way.

With the ever-flourishing prevalence of social media platforms, we have seen memes regain significant popularity over the past couple of years. Sharing memes related to the experience of mental health symptoms such as stress, anxiety, depression etc. can be seen as facilitating a humorous take on a negative experience and situation, and give us a feeling of peer support and relatability through social bonds with others experiencing similar symptoms. Here I will share with you some mental health meme pages that provide top-quality content to help you cope with whatever struggles you may be facing.

Mental health meme pages

@afffirmations is a page on instagram that uses a combination of aura-style colour schemes and 90s/y2k stock images to create standout visuals with oddly relatable, very specific and sometimes sarcastic affirmations that allow us to laugh at the things we worry about and understand that many others are experiencing the same struggles through all different stages in life.

@futuremindreader is another instagram meme account related to anxiety, productivity and motivation which are all things that pretty much everyone struggles with now and again. This page uses the classic meme format of an image or video clip paired with a caption to depict a relatable feeling or action based on symptoms of various issues related to mental health. What I love about this page is that they use video clips rather than images in combination with the captions. I feel that this adds a whole new layer of humour and makes it more specific and relatable.

r/TrollCoping (memes and misery), is a subreddit that acts as a meme-focused forum/community for people who are recovering from trauma and for people who just want something to distract themselves from the pain they may currently be experiencing. This one does need a little warning as it is a community forum, meaning that anyone can post in it. It is moderated so there isn't anything that would be completely inappropriate or extremely triggering, but just be aware that it does feel largely more personal and can be a bit gloomy at times in comparison to the instagram accounts discussed previously.

r/Wellthatsucks (Well... That sucks…) is another subreddit that is much more cheerful in comparison to memes and misery. Here people post about little things that happen in everyday life that can cause inconvenience and frustration as a way of helping people who are having a bad day realise that it could be much worse. It's nice to be reminded sometimes that others also have bad days and that your feelings of discouragement and frustration are completely valid, no matter how big or small the inconveniences you face may be.

Why internet meme's can help your mental health

It can be difficult sometimes to verbalise how we are feeling, especially when disclosing mental health troubles. It can be uncomfortable to express your vulnerability and the reasoning behind it, but it's important that people feel that they are understood and that they are relatable. Mental health memes, therefore, provide an alternative channel for people to express their feelings and visualise their experiences to a community who are experiencing similar feelings and doubts.

Of course, like everything else, this may not be a good coping tool for some, and a few may see it as unhealthy which is completely understandable. If you need professional or medical help you should undoubtedly seek it as coping is by no means recovering. These accounts should just be seen as a way of helping us get through those bad days that we all have. Interaction with humourous content may reduce stress and improve our emotional state and at the end of the day who doesn't want that? We have to laugh because if we don’t, we’ll cry.


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