As personal blogs proliferate across the internet, one category of blog is steadily becoming more popular: the mental health blog. Many WordPress website owners are using their blogs as a tool to help their own mental health, in turn also helping others with similar issues, increasing public awareness of mental health issues, and aiding medical professionals learning more about mental health.
Many WordPress bloggers have experience with a loved one suffering from a mental illness. Blogging about these relationships and the feelings and hardships they cause is widely recognized as a healthy and productive activity, helping reduce negative feelings on the part of the blogger and ease tensions in the relationship. These blogs can range from detailed examinations of personal issues to unfiltered venting. They can also help readers who might be experiencing similar issues in their lives.
Mental health professionals have embraced blogging as a useful educational tool, as well as a potential source of research data. Widespread knowledge of mental health issues leads to greater public understanding of the challenges facing people who suffer from them, and reduces the stigma of suffering from mental illness or seeking help for it. WordPress blogs can also serve as an easily documentable record of public mental health issues, leading to advances in treating and mitigating mental illness.
Perhaps the most popular form of mental health blogging is personal journals about one’s own experience with mental illness. WordPress blogs can be a valuable tool for self reflection, helping a person either accept their challenges or understand that they need to seek help. Multiple studies have shown strong evidence that short-term writing about emotions can diminish anxiety, increase immune responses, and lessen the impact of sleep disorders. Long term blogging is shown to even out blood pressure, reduce inflammation that leads to arthritis and asthma, and significantly reduce racing thoughts and symptoms of depression. Many therapists encourage their clients to keep a blog, which makes it easy for the therapist to follow the patients’ writing and more quickly and accurately diagnose and assist the patient.
Blogging also has many social benefits, which lead to better mental health. Reduced anxiety, increased confidence, and improved understanding of personal issues are all observable effects of keeping a personal mental health WordPress blog. Blogging about physical health issues can also help writers connect to other people with similar issues, leading to an improved sense of community and access to medical resources and information.
There are some potential downfalls to using a blog as a mental health journal. Public commentary can be useful, but it is also potentially abusive or harmful. It is important to recognize that a blog is not a complete substitute for therapy with a professional, just a useful accessory. There are also negative communities across the blogging sphere that can amplify negative thoughts and harmful ideation, or even provide dangerous techniques that follow some mental illnesses. It is important to seek professional help with any severe condition.
Blogging about mental health issues is a useful tool from many angles. Shared experience helps both the writer and the reader, and simple safety guidelines coupled with professional guidance can result in a valuable asset for the individual and society as a whole.