October 10th celebrates World Mental Health Day and this year’s moto is “Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality”. The World Health Organization recognises the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health. After 18 months of pandemic, lives across the world have been disrupted. Essential workers were overworked and overly concerned about the prospect of exposing their families to an invisible threat. Families were kept apart and in my case for two years, but I’m finally “home”. As I write these words, I’m sipping a coffee and overlooking a sunny Portuguese landscape. Easing restrictions have finally allowed me to visit parents and friends and I’ll definitely be making the most of it. And obviously write a few words in Our Stories about mental health in support of World Mental Health Day!
At times, social media made it easier to cope with isolation – do you remember Tik Tok’s viral dance to The Weeknd’s song blinding lights? However, the harmful impacts from its unrealistic portrayal of reality can’t be ignored. The younger generations were born in a digital era and even classes are now online. Exposure to technology occurs at a younger age as time progresses. Which is why it’s important we educate ourselves and others to be consume online content in a healthy way. Mauda’s Young & e-Mature campaign is our small contribution to Mental Health. So, if you want to find out how to be and educate others to be young & e-mature, here’s a few simple tips to help you get started.
The power of passwords
Often overlooked, passwords are the keys to our “virtual home”. The online place where we keep our personal data, photo albums, planners, etc. We don’t leave our house keys on the door, on the outside, for safety reasons. Start doing the same with your passwords. Make them as strong as possible, don’t use one across multiple sites and keep them safe. Protecting our virtual home is one step to protect ourselves online.
Sharing isn’t always caring
Similar to leaving the keys on the door, is letting everyone know your life as much as you do. Sharing too much can turn against you. Validate your privacy setting across your different social media channel. Restrict the information you share online and who you share it with. Checking into fancy places is a great way to let your friends know the lovely experiences you’re living, but it’s also disclosing when you’re not home. It’s unnecessary exposure. If you want to check-in, why not do it afterwards?
Keep your software updated
Software updates may sound like a pain, but they’re there for a reason. You wouldn’t leave your home or car with a broken window. Or a broken door lock. Software updates are a way of keeping you protected online. They address broken features that may be exposing your virtual self.
Free hotspot or network? No, thanks!
Everyone likes a “freebie”, but on what “free” hotspots are concerned, the cost of using it can be high. Extremely high! Bear in mind that anyone can configure their smartphone as a hotspot and hack your details and passwords of anything you access at that moment should you use that free “service”. Unless you know and trust the hotspot available, don’t risk it!
Emails with prizes you didn’t apply for, friend requests from people you don’t know, SMS with urgent payment requests via a link, HMRC tax refunds with links to get “your money”… Be alert! Reputable organisations won’t send you threatening communications about anything demanding an immediate payment there and then via some link. Equally, it’s unlikely anyone will send you a stash of money like that! If the communication seems genuine and from an organisation you have dealings with, enquire before you click anyway. Contact them via their publicly available contacts and confirm whether that communication is genuine. Best to be safe than sorry!
All that glitters is not gold
Social media filters, smartphones with enhanced quality cameras and readily available photo-editing software – the main ingredients for social media imagery. Unrealistic flawless bodies and skin, unachievable sculptural proportions, pure never-drank-tea white smiles. It doesn’t exist, so don’t stress over it. Don’t set that as your goal.
Online imagery is heavily manipulated and attempting to be like what we see online is unattainable. The recent news on Linda Evangelista and the non-invasive procedure that she feels left her disfigured is proof that the pressure is huge. Even beautiful women that are perfect to most of us feel the need to perfect something that doesn’t need any more perfection. Consume social media with a pinch of salt and be kind to yourself! Above all, remember that what you see isn’t an accurate depiction of reality.
Look after yourself and if possible, support anyone who may be struggling with mental health. It will for sure make a difference to everyone’s lives. Find out more about mental health in the UK via the links below. Enjoy the week x
Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH): https://www.samh.org.uk/
See Me (part of SAMH): https://www.seemescotland.org/
Mental Health UK: https://mentalhealth-uk.org/
Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2021