Depression and other Unmentionables

By Panda1, 13/10/2012

Playful Pandas is going to present a demo of Blues Buddies at the great conference Health 2.0 in Berlin, November 6 and 7.

This presentation will happen inside the track “Unmentionables: sexual health, mental health, addictions, and other “unmentionables””. It is flattering to be in such good  company :).

Jokes aside, this track reminds me why an app such as Blues Buddies is so important: traditionally, the few routes available to self-healing, like therapy groups or groups based on the 12 Steps  program like the Alcoholic Anonymous, were based on anonymity, to protect the individual from judgement but also to create a safe sphere where only the “competent” (others who experienced or were experiencing the same thing) can provide input.

While the choice of anonymity makes perfect sense to protect the fragile process of self growth and change, in today’s world where the young (and not so young) are tracked by geolocation and have their name ultra-visible all over the internet through social media, it is not so easy to find help and pursue healing activities without it sooner or later appearing somewhere in the netsphere.

The social networks generation (that is not necessarily just teens) is developing a very different notion of privacy in which private pieces of information such as real time location, banking details, curriculum vitae and personal relationships are not  to be protected at all costs. The recent diffusion of “Log In with Facebook” or “Log In with Twitter”, in spite of the fact that it facilitates the log in process avoiding the creation of hundreds of different passwords, in fact means allowing third parties to easily access information that is supposed to be private, and the process officially merges the personal sphere with general areas like business.

In this scenario, where less and less will be kept under a cover of silence and very private issues are discussed publicly, the approach to “unmentionables” needs to change, both in the general population and in institutions.

In the case of depression, we can see such tendency in the proliferation of blogs such as Down from the Ledge  which tag line states : Busting open the taboo, and many many others on all kinds of previously uncommunicable diseases and mental issues. For these reasons, it makes sense to develop new vocabularies to be able to talk about these touchy issues without hurting anyone, the key word being “respect”. Who would have thought, social networks triggering a new age of respect and exchange, instead than just social envy and bragging…  Others are just as optimistic. Reality is of course still far from this objective, so there is a lot of work to do for all of us :)

What do you think?

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