#WATWB November 2020 – Social Media Mental Health and Racism

Well I’m off to a late start again! My biggest good news this week was being able to see a really wonderful friend – and in person too! However, we aren’t here for that purpose.

Our latest #WATWB co-hosts are

Lizbeth Hartz, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, and Roshan Radhakrishnan.

Please hop on over to their pages.

I have long been interested in people and culture. We have such a vast array of them in our world. At times our “otherness” can lead to competition and conflict. At others we enrich each other in our variety.

Image from ABC News – ABC Life November 2020

So when I saw that the Australian ABC had this story on their ABC Life list, I had to have a look. It can be used for other aspects of social media but they have applied to racism.

There are four suggestions. I’ll provide a taster quote for each one and you can go to the link yourselves at your leisure.

Suggestion One: Setting Firm Boundaries for Yourself

“This can include your engagement on social media, who you deal with and how you deal with them,” says Naarm-based counsellor Tigist Kebede.

She has some simple advice to start with.

“Log off. Especially in times of distress or where you feel overwhelmed, having contained periods where you use social media can be life-changing.” For more.

Suggestion Two: Connection is Key

Whether it’s spending more time with (biological or chosen) family, finding a mentor in your workplace or seeking out online communities, prioritise connections with people who share a base-level understanding of what you’re going through.

“Connection — whether it’s to community, to an individual, to others — is about finding your people,” Ms Kebede says.

“It’s not just because they’re the same colour but because they understand your experiences that you can share the load with them.” More on connection.

Suggestion Three: Give Yourself Space to Feel

Experiencing racism can overwhelm us with anger, anxiety and pain. It can impact us in many ways: mentally, physically and spiritually.

Rather than bury your feelings, “check in with yourself” is Ms Kebede’s advice.

“It’s about holding space, compassion and empathy for yourself and for your needs. If you feel you want more.

Suggestion Four: Reclaim the Narrative

In Professor Carlson’s experience, it’s Indigenous peoples’ ability to see the funny side that often helps them deal with the repetitive trauma of “another day in the colony”, to quote Dr Chelsea Bond.

Deploying humour has become a powerful tool for Indigenous social media users to speak back to racist and non-factual online commentary.

“That’s something I love about our mob, being able to see the irony. You get people saying ‘Australia was colonised peacefully’ — well, you can show just how laughable that is by turning it into a meme like [the Facebook page] Blackfulla Revolution does so well.” More on reclaiming.

There is more to the article than what I have gratuitously cut and paste from ABC Life. The link is in each quote.

As I was preparing this post some other words were forming. Below is an excerpt and link.

Not Just Some Other

I am black

I am white

In restful dark

And shining light.

I am yellow

I am red

I am hard at work

And resting in bed.

More here.


Please follow other posts with the hashtag #WATWB

#WATWB January 2020 -Volunteering Can Help

Welcome to the first We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB  post for 2020!

This month our co-hosts are:

Damyanti Biswas,

Shilpa Garg,

Lizbeth Hartz,

Sylvia Stein, and

Mary Giese.

Please hop on over and look at their posts and any others with #WATWB.

Coming off a conference and in the thick of funerals, I thought I’d not make it this month.  But…. here we are!

I’m leaning on the good ole ABC Life News reporting.

Australian journalist Siobhan Hegarty has provided a story on young people and volunteering.  Right on topic too, for a colleague and I were sharing, on our way back from our conference, how volunteers are truly magnanimous people in the face of adversity.  We were thinking of our State Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS).

Hegarty’s story features a number of examples.  Like Rebecca Cole who joined the SES at age 18.

During the recent bushfires in NSW, Rebecca went on food drops and volunteered at the Queanbeyan fire control centre, operating the radios overnight and logging information for firefighters.

She says being able to volunteer with the bushfire relief effort stopped her from feeling helpless in the wake of the natural disaster.

“It’s so important to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

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Picture accessed from ABC News life, 23 January 2020. Supplied by Rebecca Cole.

 

Another example includes WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Information Service).

Hegarty’s report reminds us that long term help matters too. Some agencies may not be able to take our help straight away but following up is a great idea.

She reminds us all that volunteering can help us feel like we are making difference.

According to Lucas Walsh, an education professor at Monash University, volunteering can lead to better mental health and social connectedness.

It may also help alleviate existential anxieties about the future.

“Getting involved in a meaningful activity will help improve your feeling about the challenges arising from droughts, fires and climate change”, he says.

You can see Hegarty’s full article here.


Follow #WATWB  and check out some other posts too!

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