Global Research Highlights Positive Effects Of Memes On Depression
Some memes relating to depression and mental health struggles have received bad press, however this research indicates that for those experiencing depression, they can actually have the opposite effect. If you are affected by cyberbullying or anything touched on within this article, follow the links to our various support services or click on the blue logo icon at the bottom right of the screen to start using Cybersmile Assistant, our smart AI support assistant.
Leading global research institute Nature Research has published a study which looks at how positive and humorous memes impact people with depression and found that positive humor may function as an effective form of emotion regulation, with accompanying positive emotion serving to reappraise negative emotions.
Experiencing humor has long been recognized as vital in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing, however previous research on this theory had not used subjects with existing depression to study the effects more closely.
“Talking more about mental health is always positive, and memes are this interesting way of having conversations about different mental health experiences.”
Connie Salvayon, Clinical Social Worker, Los Angeles
This study set out to establish whether subjects with depressive symptoms would interpret memes differently from non-depressed participants and found that there was a marked difference in emotional responses and interpretation. More specifically, those with existing problems rated aspects of the memes such as shareability, relatability and mood improving potential, greater than non-depressed participants.
Researchers also found that people with depression prefer memes that relate to their experiences of mental health. This may be because people with depression actually use humor in a different way, partly because of the unique way a person with depression control emotional responses.
“We have long understood the significance of memes and how they can be perceived in so many different ways. For someone with depression they can resonate at a far deeper level than someone without.”
Dan Raisbeck, Co-founder, The Cybersmile Foundation
Some depression related memes have received bad press for promoting mental health problems. However, this research shows that for those experiencing depression, they can actually have the opposite effect – destigmatizing depression for those who have it, and helping them to feel a sense of community.
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