In the immortal words of The Beatles, everybody occasionally “needs a little help from their friends.” The average person has 130 Facebook friends, but with all types of relationships – from romantic to platonic – migrating online, people are feeling more and more disconnected and alone. Whether it’s shopping, going to the movies, gaming, or even catching up with old friends, nearly everything we used to do socially has become something many of us are choosing to do online. We may have more ‘friends’ than the entire population of hunter gatherer groups of a few thousand years ago, we are feeling more isolated than ever. This isolation leads to increased levels of depression, anxiety, and a lack of self-esteem. These mental problems can lead to physical problems, such as weight gain and substance abuse.
In this month’s issue of The Best You, we interview David Smallwood, a therapist who specialises in helping people with substance abuse problems among other afflictions. We also feature an article from Beth Murphy, the Head of Information at Mind, the mental health charity. David and Beth are both dedicated to providing people with the mental and emotional support they need when they are going through a rough time, so now I’m asking you, are you getting the help you need?
Though it may be cutting us off from truly social interaction, technology has also brought us into an ever-widening support network. For those in distress, help is closer at hand than ever. Everything is accessible, all the time, and if you feel uncomfortable asking someone for help directly, you can do it all online.
There is no excuse anymore. If you feel that something needs to change in your life, ask someone for help, whether that is a professional or Google. Research your feelings and experiences and find someone who is going through what you are. There are 2.5 billion Internet users – someone will understand what you are going through and someone is ready and able to help.