In recent decades, mental health has evolved from being an invisible attribute of human beings to being recognized as a visible and central part of their overall health. Once hidden away in order to avoid stigma and negative social judgement, today many people speak openly about their mental health issues and feel safer about publicly expressing their psychological distress. As a result, society as a whole is gaining a better understanding of how vulnerable humans are to mental health suffering, and of the importance of adequately addressing these issues, devoting sufficient resources to them, and using empirically validated data for their study.
A significant feature of mental health is its interaction with communication, especially via traditional and new media platforms. In this regard, mental health communication can be conceptualized as a two-way mechanism. First, individuals struggling with mental health issues receive mental health-related communications from institutions, governments, traditional media (news, television programs, etc.), and from social media platforms, to name but a few sources. Conversely, these same individuals are also producers of mental health communication as they share their thoughts and concerns via interpersonal and social media platforms (e.g., WhatsApp, Instagram). These and other dynamics have mitigated the loneliness and feeling of not being listened to suffered by many people with mental health issues, and, especially among young people, have helped to reduce or eliminate the idea that mental health conversations are taboo. Failure to address these issues adequately has contributed to the dissemination of inaccurate information and representations of mental health, and to the proliferation of pseudo-scientific approaches to treating mental health that are not based on any empirical evidence. The resulting picture is a confusing one.
This special issue aims to provide a map of the intersection between communication and mental health. From a holistic perspective, we welcome papers from any remit of communication and mental health that can help to deepen our understanding of the field and its associated disciplines. Although the list below is not exclusive, the special issue can consider the following approaches and topics of interest:
- Online harassment and mental health
- Self-image, self-esteem, and communication practices
- The effective communication of mental heath
- Effective strategies in communication to prevent mental health issues
- Critical and systematic reviews regarding any aspect of mental health and communication
- Addictions and mental health: advertising tactics to promote addiction and resistance strategies.
- Social media influencers and mental health.
- Between retention and addiction: digital platforms, user design, and the maximization of the time on devices.
- Intimacy and privacy on social media and its relationship with mental wellbeing.
- The representation of mental health issues in media products.
Submission Guidelines: Authors are invited to submit contributions containing original research, conceptual papers, literature reviews, or case studies, on the theme of mental health and communication. Please check the submission guidelines of BID for clarity regarding the process and requirements for submissions. BID only accepts contributions written in English. The recommended length for published papers is about 6,000 words (including references).
For further information, please contact the guest editors of the special issue Hibai Lopez-Gonzalez (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mark D. Griffiths.