It’s 2018 and it’s safe to say that we still don’t have the words to describe exactly what mental illness is (unless you count some furiously enthusiastic uni-students shouting “R U OK” across the quad once a year, of course).
It’s not because mental illness is something far-fetched and rare that affects only a few of us. According to the Australian Medical Association, 45%of Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 will experience a common mental health disorder in their lifetime.
Although there may not be an agreed language on how to best describe a debilitating panic attack, or a depressive-two-minute-noodle-fuelled-three-month-long episode that may as well be sponsored by Netflix and UberEats, there may be a meme that captures mental illness perfectly.
Yes. You read that right.
The success of a meme, even in interweb days of yore (passing on chainmail to ten or so close friends on Hotmail so that some godawful demon doesn’t jack off at the end of my bed as I try to sleep) have always been based on how relatable it is to a broad range of people.
The recent explosion of ‘depression memes’ is surely indicative of just how common complex mental illnesses are. But if you told us, in 2008, that in a decade’s time we’d be living in a time where internet humour has a genuine, proven benefit on public health? We’d probably call you ‘cr@zy’ before removing you from our Top 8.
According to the professionals like Bridianne O’Dea, mental health researcher at The Black Dog Institute, memes can absolutely be helpful when it comes to challenging unhealthy myths and stereotypes about those who live with mental illness. Howbowdah?
O’Dea talks to PEDESTRIAN.TV about how memes are changing the way psychologists treat young patients in the fifth episode of our mental health podcast No Chill. We also chat with the Kerri-Anne Kennerley of memery, Carolyn Duchene, whose recent memes have centered around her own experience with depression.
It’s a good’un:
You can keep up to date with each ep drop by following No Chill on Twitter, here.
And as always – don’t keep calm, but do carry on.