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July 13, 2014 | by  | in Being Well Opinion |
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Feel Free to Speak Out and Ask For Help

Asking for help and seeking support is an important aspect of life that many young adults struggle with. I believe part of the reason for this is living in an age of comparison (comparing and judging your life against the lives of others). A quick check of my own Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat emphasises my point. My personal reflections are that these facets of social media (which, coincidently, I use regularly), have become increasingly narcissistic. My newsfeed is filled with edited selfies, and plenty variants of the same “my life is so great” updates. While I enjoy keeping in touch with my friends’ worlds, and seeing them achieve, I also find it incredibly refreshing when something ‘not so great’ is posted. Last week, my friend, a young mother, posted a photo of her toddler who had got into the fridge and tipped milk over the kitchen floor. The image was labelled: “Starting the day trying not to cry over spilt milk…” Subsequently, the comments applauded her for being ‘real’ on Facebook.

The idea of being ‘real’ on social media is intriguing. In the age of comparison, it is incredibly tempting to show what we consider to be the best image of ourselves in both our online and offline worlds. Therefore, showing someone your true self, admitting that you need help and being vulnerable can be quite a challenging task. Other barriers for seeking help include stigma or embarrassment, problems recognising symptoms, having a preference for self-reliance, lack of trust, and a feeling of hopelessness (feeling like no one could help) (Gulliver et al., 2007). I encourage you to overcome these barriers, and to seek help as soon as you recognise you might need some support. The earlier, the better.

Effective help-seeking has four components: having an ability to recognise problems that you may need help to address, expressing your symptoms and desire for support, availability of sources to help, and a willingness to seek out support and disclose symptoms (Rickwood et al., 2005).

At Victoria, we have a range of support services here to help you. Please visit www.victoria.ac.nz/support for further information.

I’d like to finish by saying: make time to ‘check in’ with yourself. Be mindful and aware of who you are and what you are experiencing, and have the courage to seek help when in a time of need.

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