Psychology Around the Net: August 17, 2019

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This week’s Psychology Around the Net covers the depiction of mental illness on social media, a simple exercise to help with self-discipline, an update to the nation’s crisis hotline, and more.

Dive in!

How to Fight Mental Illness Stigma at College With Fun: According to a new study out of Indiana University, students who take part in enjoyable, peer-directed activities that address mental illness are less likely to stigmatize people with the conditions. Researchers surveyed a single graduating class throughout their college years, as well as studied the effectiveness of U Bring Change to Mind (part of Bring Change to Mind). Says Bernice Pescosolido, professor of sociology at Indiana University and director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research: “This is really the first program to target stigma that’s been scientifically vetted from its inception. This pre- and post-analysis is very unique. Moreover, the results show these efforts really did change campus climate… not only regarding attitudes but also behaviors.”

Struggle With Self-Discipline? Do This Simple Exercise Every Single Day: Do you struggle getting yourself to the gym? Keeping your home clean and organized? Going to bed at a decent hour? Making healthy eating choices? Staying in your budget? People struggle with self-discipline in many different ways and for many different reasons, but if you try this skill-building exercise every day, it’ll soon become easier and easier to regulate yourself.

Having a Mental Health Crisis? Dial 988: Well, not yet, but soon. With the number of suicides on the rise, the U.S. government wants the national crisis hotline quicker and easier to dial, like the three-digit numbers for emergencies (911) and city services (311). Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a typical 10-digit phone number, (800) 273-TALK (8255), but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai intends to start the process to change that to 988 — a much quicker-to-dial number the FCC states will be easier for distressed people to get help.

Why You Need To Set Boundaries With Yourself: Even though boundaries essentially draw a line between what’s good for you and what’s not, it’s difficult to set them and sometimes more difficult to keep them. Here’s why, as well as a few tips on how to establish personal boundaries.

If You Don’t Have Enough Time, This Can Help: Take out a pen, paper, and timer and dedicate 10 minutes or so to this thought-provoking exercise to gain some self-awareness and make meaningful changes to how you’re spending your time.

We Need to Stop Making Mental Illness Look Cool On Social Media: When you do a quick search of #depressed on Instagram, you’ll get over 12 million posts — many of which are black-and-white edits of attractive people engaging in destructive behavior like smoking or GIFs of sad cartoons or images with text like “Help me.” Mental health professional Aditi Verma calls these romanticized depictions of mental illness “beautiful suffering”; they’re “meme-ified version[s] of mental illness that reduces anxiety and depression to a temporary feeling capable of being depicted through dark edits and simplified text.” How do these romanticized depictions affect the people who actually suffer from the disorders?