Nowadays, more and more people are becoming aware and more open about mental health issues. While this is a good thing in all spheres because it has lessened the stigma and made way for more open discussion about the topic, some people have just become “too open” in sharing their experiences and struggles.
The openness of society to talk about mental health has been helpful to let other people speak up and defend people battling mental illness. But oftentimes, those sharing their own struggles have failed to consider some people who may still be struggling with the trauma of an experience. (Read: 4 Mental Health Conditions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of)
Several mental health support groups on social media have rules on trigger warnings: if you are to share a traumatic experience or you have gauged for yourself that it’s a traumatic experience you must include the words “trigger warning” and put the context after eight spaces down.
Meanwhile, some sites— Twitter, for instance— have ways to filter or mute certain words or tags that may trigger an individual. But for some sites, it is the responsibility of its users to help each other out and give content warnings. (Read: How society’s perception on mental health changed through the years)
Some may argue that this may seem coddling— however, this is just common courtesy. Very few people want to see your graphic injury as they are scrolling through Instagram, right? The spreading of information and awareness on tough issues should not disregard the manner in which you choose to talk about it.
Disregarding others’ traumatizing experience because you feel the need to speak up about yours can trigger and re-traumatize other survivors. Refusing to accommodate others’ trauma shows disdain for those who have undergone the same thing.
Besides, giving content/trigger warnings is fairly easy. Here are ways:
Identify if Your Post Needs a Trigger Warning
Use your best judgment when doing this, but a good rule of thumb would be if what you’re posting is about a traumatic experience. If it is, it probably warrants a content warning. (Read: Liza Soberano Opens Up About Anxiety, Shares Tips for Good Mental Health)
Put the Trigger Warning in a Visible Way
If you are using Instagram, the first two slides of a post can list the kinds of triggering content— the rest of the post can be dedicated to the issue. If you’re going to post using Instagram stories, you should provide an easy-to-read and eye-catching text to warn others. Flip the image upside down if the content you are going to share is triggering.