March 24, 2022
Hello, MindSite News readers. In case you missed it earlier, we’re resharing our story on the surge in narcissism channels on social media. In other news: Librarians as the new social workers, the dangers of mobile betting, more inclusive mental health on campus, and much more!
MINDSITE NEWS ORIGINALS
What’s behind the boom in narcissm content on TikTok, quora and reddit?
TikTok users are flocking into the social media giant’s narcissism channels, MindSite News writer Diana Kapp reports. The #NarcTok community on TikTok has 1.9 billion views. And it’s not just TikTok: Quora subgroups like All About Narcissists and Narcissistic Victims Syndrome Support and the Reddit community r/raisedbynarcissists have hundreds of thousands more.
The NarcTok community includes many survivors of abusive relationships seeking support or celebrating “a life without a narc,” as well as therapists, “self-aware” narcissists and people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), each offering information, sympathy and entertaining riffs on everything from “gaslighting infidelity” to “intrapsychic” mechanisms of narcissists. To learn more about this phenomenon and what is driving it, read Kapp’s engrossing story.
NEWS FROM AROUND THE WEB
Are librarians the new social workers?
“Librarians are informational professionals trained to do one job, but they often perform jobs more akin to social work and first response.” Amanda Oliver walloped readers with that statement in an interview with Esquire about her new book, Overdue: Reckoning with the Public Library. The conversation covered the challenges she noticed facing public libraries in her six years as a librarian in Washington DC, the steady importance of physical libraries in a digital age, and the role of libraries as centers for community care.
Beyond connecting patrons to books, computers, and other sources of information, libraries and librarians across many cities act as support for people experiencing trauma, particularly those who are unhoused or struggling with addiction. For these people, libraries provide books, rest, critical information, temporary shelter, bathroom access, and, throughout the pandemic, free testing for COVID-19.
Addiction counselors see coming crisis as mobile sports-betting expands
Mobile sports betting – where wagers can be placed with a click on a smartphone – is taking off in New York. The Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting in 2018, and since then more than two dozen states have legalized the process. Some of those require placing bets in person but many allow wagers to be placed online. Since mobile betting became legal in New York in January, gamblers have placed bets to the tune of $4 billion, earning mobile sportsbooks roughly $275 million in revenue. In that same time, professionals specializing in gambling addiction have sprung to action, anticipating the urgent need for their services. Based on his experience in the addiction field since 1987, Jim Maney, the executive director for the New York Council on Problem Gambling told Syracuse.com, “We can see this coming.”
Mobile betting makes gambling easier than ever, lowering barriers that could keep problem gamblers from going all in and is likely to lead to new waves of addictive behavior, experts say. Other states that have legalized mobile gambling have seen an increase in calls to hotlines. Gambling can lead to a range of problems, especially for those with other mental health conditions. According to the publication, among people who report having a gambling disorder, 60% had a personality disorder, 50% had a mood disorder and 41% had an anxiety disorder. “Problem gambling is really challenging because there are many people that do it in a healthy way for leisure and for recreation,” Jeremy Klemanski of Helio Health told the paper. “It can be hard to tell when you’ve crossed the threshold.”
How important are social guardrails to personal mental health?
“It’s okay to not be okay” has its limits, according to Bassey Ikpi, author of “I’m Telling the Truth but I’m Lying,” a memoir about her bipolar disorder. In a conversation with Damon Young for his Washington Post column, Ikpi told the culture writer: “There is a respectability politic with mental health. You’re only allowed to have a mental illness in public if it makes you sad or makes people feel bad for you. You’re only allowed to have a mental illness in public if people already like you.”
But what happens when you’re billionaire megastar Kanye West, and your mental illness is bipolar disorder, untreated and “ugly,” and you’re so wealthy that no one is going to hold you accountable? When you’re so rich that the world is happy to live-tweet episodes of your untreated mental illness as it spins you closer and closer to self-destruction? Young, who has written often about having a more acceptable condition – social anxiety disorder – poses the question wearily. Having to work for a living, or supporting a family, he argues, can act as guardrails keeping one accountable to their health and well-being. But what’s the hope for someone like Kanye West, who has little chance of losing all of his resources and no apparent concern with losing family or friends? The prospect of that seems to trigger Young, too. “I think I have a handle on what’s happening in my brain,” he writes near the end of his column. “But what if I don’t?”
Making campus mental health more inclusive of all students
The need for a therapist to be culturally competent with respect to their client is hard to overstate. It contributes to a sense of trust and makes therapy more effective. But as an article in Teen Vogue shows, university mental health services across the country have room to grow when it comes to addressing the needs of historically underrepresented groups on campus, including LGBTQ+ students, international students, and students of color. “I think there’s a need to adjust to the population,” said Reyna Smith, a doctoral candidate at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky. “Especially as enrollment increases, and diversity increases on campus, you need to be able to support the needs of all students.”
According to a 2019 report published by Penn State examining 163 college and university counseling centers, nearly 70 percent of campus mental health center staff is white—making it a challenge for campuses to affirm the unique needs of an ever-changing student body. One solution to this challenge is hiring more counseling staff from underrepresented groups, while also training existing staff on the best ways to counsel people of different identities. Given the shortage of mental health professionals of all backgrounds, that will take a concerted effort.
In other news …
The Pentagon is increasing its efforts to prevent military suicides, The Hill reported. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the creation of The Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee to focus on nine bases in the US and overseas where the Army has seen suicides rise over the past year.
Feeling overlooked: Much has been written about the global mental health crisis and its impact on teachers, students, parents, doctors and nurses, and even journalists. But what about social workers? They “deliver more mental health and social care than any other group of providers,” says Angelo McClain, CEO of the National Association of Social Workers, in an op-ed published by the Miami Herald. And they need help, too.
As Canada works to emerge and rebuild from the “second pandemic” of mental health, academics from four Canadian universities argue in an article in The Conversation that it must be done with a focus on equity. They urge improved funding for mental health services tailored to reduce barriers for underserved groups; adopting a population approach to mental health; strengthening mental health screening and referral pathways in primary care settings; and guidelines to make sure services, including digital mental health, are accessible to those most in need.
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. And if you’re a veteran, press 1.
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The name “MindSite News” is used with the express permission of Mindsight Institute, an educational organization offering online learning and in-person workshops in the field of mental health and wellbeing. MindSite News and Mindsight Institute are separate, unaffiliated entities that are aligned in making science accessible and promoting mental health globally.