How is insta therapy going on?

How is Insta therapy going on?

Women structure the bulk of individuals living with mood disorders in Canada. However, treatments and resources that are adapted to their needs are still lacking. Looking for ways to feel better, many ladies are turning to social media platforms like Instagram.

insta therapy

To make sense of the phenomenon called “Instagram therapy,” I interviewed quite 20 women in 2020 who use Instagram for mental health illness care. I found that women address the image-sharing platform to counter the shortage of obtainable resources. Instagram allows them to tackle issues associated with their identity, hook up with others with similar experiences and, ultimately, feel less alone.

Even though awareness about mental health has increased, especially during the pandemic, gender-based stigmas, biases and expectations continue to affect women’s well-being at a growing rate.


These issues date back to 19th-century psychiatry. Women were portrayed as hysterical or “crazy,” and over-represented among the unsound, entertaining the thought that insanity is inherent to women’s nature.

Consequently, women aren’t only more vulnerable to being labelled as mad, but traditional psychology also tends to generalize their experiences, not taking into consideration that gender is lived differently depending on race, sexual identity and other social determinants. Today, albeit years of research have challenged the association between women and madness, gender norms still affect women’s well-being and accessibility to adequate care.


For the women I interviewed, Instagram acts as a tool to tackle these norms as well as seek validation and community. While Instagram therapy has been called out as dangerous, my research reveals that Instagram helps women progress in their recovery because they will access information and make connections that are not possible otherwise.

Cécile, a philosophy student, decided to hunt help for her disorder right before the pandemic. When the lockdown started, she recalls her Instagram feed is filled with memes about weight gain during quarantine, something that was particularly triggering. Instead of leaving Instagram, one among the few places where she could still connect with people, she decided to start following hashtags like #bodypositivemovement and share her recovery journey in her Instagram stories.

Cécile uses her stories to vary the conversation around dieting and add links to existing resources. For her, doing this work really “helps women to feel less alone, it creates a feeling of solidarity.”

Émilie, a biracial woman living with generalized anxiety, doesn’t share her journey on Instagram, but actively uses the content of accounts like @browngirltherapy and @letterstoblackwomen in her recovery process. Her psychological state, she tells me during our interview, can’t be dissociated from the everyday racism she experiences as a Black woman the content she follows on Instagram allows her to address this dimension.

“It provides validation for things that are not necessarily addressed in therapy or that I feel I can’t talk about with the people around me.”

For example, it’s because of these accounts that Émilie became conscious of many micro-aggressions she was experiencing but didn’t know had an impact on her well-being.


But to think that Instagram could challenge the gender gap in psychological state isn’t what automatically involves the mind when mental disease and social media are coupled together. Indeed, social media researchers have demonstrated that Instagram is often empowering, but also harmful in perpetuating unrealistic gender expectations.

Instagram’s algorithm structures our networked interactions in ways that push forward certain content and shadow others, encouraging standardized definitions of femininity and self-care to endure.

For example, Instagram promotes esthetically pleasing models of recovery such as bubble baths and scented candles that continue to put the responsibility of well-being in the hands of women instead of social infrastructures. Women are therefore not only compelled to use Instagram to deal with the shortage of psychological state resources but also for the self-realization, empowerment and transformation that it promises.


But however diverse social media’s impact on the psychological state is often, my participants’ stories shed light on the need to reframe the discourse around social media and psychological state. While there’s a bent to specialise in how Instagram aggravates women’s psychological state, there’s a pressing got to acknowledge that ladies also address the platform to consult information associated with their health and find recognition.

This is especially important because Instagram currently polices mental illness-related content in ways in which are harmful to those communities. We must recognize that Instagram isn’t always bad for the psychological state to carry the app in charge of further stigmatizing women. It should be the responsibility of Instagram to assure that ladies can still create and access vital information and communities without being censored.

Finally, content posted online represents a crucial body of data that has got to be taken seriously if we ever want to make resources that are better tailored to women’s needs. Attending to the complexity of women’s Instagram use allows us to raised understand the bounds and possibilities of digital care when our health is increasingly tied to mobile apps.

The government of Canada is developing a virtual care platform to assist Canadians to navigate psychological state issues. The digital tools are going to be designed to assist users to hook up with psychological state providers and find reliable information while reducing the pressure on the healthcare system.

Looking at how women are using available platforms and networks like Instagram can help adapt these technologies to their needs and potentially reduce the gender gap.


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