Online tools for mental health | News, Sports, Jobs


The growth of online presence and influence is at its peak in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There has been a dramatic shift to using online interactions such as ZOOM, telehealth and social media to relay information or simply for entertainment. Although primarily used for entertainment, social media can be a great tool for promoting mental health with positive messages of hope and healing.

For the past year, I have taken on the role of Social Media Coordinator for the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene to help promote mental health awareness using safe messaging tactics. Being born and raised in Dunkirk and an alumnus of the State University of New York at Fredonia, I hope to provide locally inspired insight into the power of social media in our community. I graduated with my Bachelor of Social Work in the spring of 2021 and completed my senior internship with the Chautauqua County Suicide Prevention Alliance, Tapestry Resilience Initiative, and the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene.

The mission of the Department of Mental Hygiene is to plan, develop, and provide accessible, comprehensive, integrated, and outcome-based mental hygiene services of the highest quality to the residents of Chautauqua County, maximizing all available resources of the most efficient and cost-effective way. One such resource uses social media to help promote our mental health services by applying safe messaging, creative content and introducing our staff to the public. By posting conversations with our staff and visiting our clinics online, our goal is to create a sense of comfort and help relieve the anxiety that can accompany seeking mental health treatment. A big part of our social media presence has been creating videos showcasing local awareness events and showcasing our beautiful community. The popularity of

Sensational application on the Internet “TIC Tac” gave the Mental Hygiene Department an edge in attracting the public.

According to recent research data from 2021, social media statistics show that an average of two hours and 25 minutes are spent per day per person on social media (DataReportal, 2021). The effects of social media on mental health are a fine line between positive and negative. Experiencing secure messaging during your period of use has potential benefits for your mental health and well-being. The definition of safe messaging means supporting safety, help-seeking, hope and healing in the form of online content. Providing advice, ethical reporting, positive storytelling and sharing local resources is the primary way to deter the negative effects of social media on mental health.

The Department of Mental Hygiene hopes to engage our local community with positivity while simultaneously reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. We all go through struggles whether you can see them or not. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and should be treated as such. It’s okay to ask for help in times of uncertainty. Even if you’re doing well in life, it’s okay to talk to someone you can trust. Let’s end the stigma around mental health and create a safe environment by talking about it!

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Melvin G. Rodriguez